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Holmes Sanity Test Team Likely Will Have 3 Members

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James Holmes in court in June 2013 (credit: CBS)

James Holmes in court in June 2013 (credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP) – The sanity evaluation of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes probably will be conducted by a psychiatrist and two psychologists, the state hospital chief said in a letter released Tuesday.

The psychiatrist has been chosen and likely will be assisted by a psychologist and a neuropsychologist, wrote William May, superintendent of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

The letter, addressed to Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., did not identify the psychiatrist or the psychologists.

Holmes, a former graduate student in neuroscience, is accused of opening fire July 20 in a packed movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes must undergo the insanity evaluation before his trial, scheduled to begin in February. It’s unclear when the evaluation will begin or end, or whether it might delay the trial.

May also objected to a request by the defense to be present during the evaluation. He said their presence could alter Holmes’ responses.

Earlier Tuesday, the court released a ruling by Samour saying Holmes can wear civilian clothes instead of a jail uniform at his trial.

Requiring Holmes to wear a jail uniform would violate the principle that defendants are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, Samour said.

In each of his court appearances to date, Holmes has worn an orange or red jail suit, and his hands and feet have been shackled.

The defense also asked that he not be shackled during the trial. No ruling has been released on that request.

The order on clothing was one of nine issued by Samour.

He granted a defense request for a list of prospective jurors as far ahead of the trial as possible. The lawyers suggested they wanted to review demographic data and other information while making sure court officials were following the laws in choosing the jury pool.

Samour also approved a defense request that a jury pool be chosen exclusively for the Holmes trial. Usually, members of a single jury pool are divided up among several trials.

The judge denied a defense request that prospective jurors be sequestered, saying that would be impractical and noting jury selection could take weeks.

He also denied a defense request to consolidate some of the murder charges and attempted murder charges.

- By Dan Elliott, AP Writer

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

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