James Holmes: Aurora Theater Shooting Suspect May Pursue Insanity Defense

James Holmes: Aurora Theater Shooting Suspect May Pursue Insanity Defense

James Holmes may attempt an insanity plea in his trial for a Colorado theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, his defense team hinted.

The decision on how to proceed with James Holmes’ defense has not been made yet. His attorneys filed papers in court on Friday that said they can’t make a decision on their defense until a judge roles on a motion they filed challenging the constitutionality of the state’s insanity defense law, The Associated Press reported.

The attorneys have argued that the law is not fair to defendants as it requires they turn over potentially incriminating information, which others who plead not guilty are not required to do. Legal experts believe that attorneys for James Holmes may be trying to keep potentially incriminating journals out of the hands of prosecutors.

The notebook had previously been off-limits to prosecutors because it was part of a doctor-patient relationship between Holmes and his psychiatrist.

James Holmes‘ attorney have said that he is mentally ill and was seeking treatment from a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Holmes faces 166 felony counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the shootings at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.


Prosecutors still haven’t said exactly how they will proceed either, NBC News noted. They could still seek the death penalty, though no one has been put to death in Colorado since 1978.

If James Holmes is found not guilty by reason of his insanity defense, he would be sent to a psychiatric facility and release if it is deemed he has recovered, though experts say that is unlikely he would ever be set free.