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Judge Gives Holmes’ Lawyers More Time To Respond

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James Holmes in court on March 12, 2013 (credit: CBS)

James Holmes in court on March 12, 2013 (credit: CBS)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) – The judge in the Colorado theater shootings has given the defense until April 29 to respond to his proposed list of cautions that suspect James Holmes would have to sign before Holmes could change his not guilty plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. last week set a Wednesday deadline. On Monday, Samour gave the defense the additional time, noting that prosecutors didn’t object.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the July shootings, which killed 12 and left 70 injured.

A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes would have to sign a list of cautions if he wanted to plead insanity or if he wanted to enter a standard plea of not guilty but still introduce expert testimony about his mental condition.

One of the cautions says Holmes must cooperate with doctors during a mandatory mental health evaluation or he won’t be able to present mitigating evidence about his mental state if he is convicted and a jury is asked to decide whether he should be executed.

Holmes’ lawyers have indicated in court papers that they may pursue a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity. That carries great risk: Prosecutors could argue that Holmes methodically planned his attack, casing the theater, stockpiling weapons and booby-trapping his apartment with explosives.

If Holmes is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would be sent to the state mental hospital, then returned to prison after treatment.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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