ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Attorneys for Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity Monday. The judge said he will rule May 28 on whether to accept or reject the change of plea.
The judge said Monday that allowing the change "would be consistent with fairness and justice."
It's the first official plea from Holmes' attorneys. The judge entered what he called a "standard not guilty" plea in March, after Holmes' attorneys said they were "not ethically prepared" to enter a plea.
Holmes, a 25-year-old former University of Colorado graduate student in neuroscience, is charged with 166 counts in the July 20 massacre. The shooting, which occurred during a showing of the "The Dark Knight Rises," left 12 moviegoers dead and injured 70 people.
The original judge on the case, Judge William Blair Sylvester, said in court documents in March, that if Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, he would undergo a sanity examination and would be required to cooperate with psychiatrists and other personnel conducting any examination ordered by the court and that he could be medicated for those medical exams.
The not guilty by reason of insanity plea also means Holmes waives any claim of confidentiality or privilege with physicians or psychologists. That means any confessions, admissions, medical history and social history may be used to question Holmes.
Holmes may also face a polygraph exam.
Sylvester has since reassigned the case to Judge Carlos A. Samour, Junior.
Samour scheduled the Holmes trial for February 3, 2014. Prosecutors suggested the trial might take three months, the defense team said it would likely take nine months. The judge scheduled the trial for four months.
Prosecutors announced in April that they plan to seek the death penalty if Holmes is convicted. District Attorney George Brauchler announced, "It is my determination and intention that in this case for James Eagan Holmes, justice is death."
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