Colorado Theater Shooting: James Holmes to Plead Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Tim Kenneally
The Wrap

James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens of others at a July 2012 screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo., will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.

Public defenders representing Holmes filed the notice of intent to tender the plea in U.S. District Court in Arapahoe County, Colo. on Tuesday.

Also read: Colorado Theater Shooting: James Holmes Loses Bid to Have Insanity Law Ruled Unconstitutional

The plea will be tendered at a status hearing on the case that's scheduled for May 13.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes.

Holmes' defense counsel had earlier attempted to establish that Colorado's insanity law is unconstitutional. However, Judge William Blair Sylvester shot down all but one of the defense's arguments.

Also read: Colorado Theater Shooting: James Holmes Could Plead Guilty to Skirt Death Penalty

Holmes' attorneys had also earlier floated the possibility that Holmes would consider entering a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Tuesday's notice of intent to plead follows a motion filed by defense counsel on Monday, seeking heightened standards of fairness and reliability to Holmes' case, since prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

"It is beyond dispute that this standard must be applied to any capital proceeding," the motion reads. "The United States Supreme Court has long held that the qualitative differences of death from all other punishments 'calls for a greater degree of reliability when the death sentence is imposed."

Holmes, 25, faces multiple counts of murder and attempted murder stemming from the deadly rampage.P

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.  

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