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James Holmes may plead insanity in Aurora mass shooting trial

8:40 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
James Holmes (Getty Images)
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Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

James Holmes, the University of Colorado doctoral program dropout charged with killing 12 and injuring or wounding nearly 60 others during a July 20 shooting spree, may use an insanity defense.

Holmes' court-appointed public defenders indicated that Holmes might plead not guilty by reason of insanity at his arraignment hearing, scheduled for March 12. Holmes, 25, faces more than 140 charges of first-degree murder and attempted first degree murder.

The move isn't unexpected. Holmes' attorneys have indicated that he suffers from mental illness at several prior court appearances, and a University of Colorado psychiatrist has testified that she saw Holmes before he dropped out of school in June.

In court documents made public Friday, Holmes' attorneys asked presiding judge William Sylvester to declare portions of Colorado's insanity defense laws declared unconstitutional.

The filings say the laws in which a defendant may waive their right to remain silent and reveal confidential medical information should be unconstitutional in cases involving the possibility of execution.

Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty. Holmes' attorneys said not knowing whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty directly impacts what type of plea.

Contributing: Associated Press

USA TODAY

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