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Judge accepts insanity plea in Aurora theater shooting

A judge on Tuesday accepted James Holmes’ plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, setting the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation of the Colorado theater shooting suspect.

The court clerk placed a written advisory of the ground rules of the plea before Holmes so he could examine it as Judge Carlos Samour Jr. read through all 18 points.

When Samour asked if he had any questions, Holmes replied no. Samour then accepted the plea. READ FULL STORY

Aurora movie-theater shooter to plead insanity

The man accused in the deadly Colorado theater shootings wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyers said Tuesday, despite their fears that the plea could severely hamper his ability to mount a defense against the death penalty.

James Holmes is charged with more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder in the July 20 assault on a packed Aurora movie theater that killed 12 and injured 70. Prosecutors announced last month they would seek the death penalty.

Holmes was widely expected to plead insanity given the compelling evidence against him, but his attorneys put it off for weeks, saying state laws on the death penalty and insanity overlap in ways that violate his constitutional rights and his ability to mount an effective defense.

One of their worries: If Holmes doesn’t cooperate with doctors who will evaluate his sanity at the state mental hospital, he could be barred from calling witnesses to testify about his mental condition during sentencing. That would make it nearly impossible for his lawyers to use his mental state as an argument against the death penalty. READ FULL STORY

James Holmes offers to plead guilty in Aurora shooting

Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes has offered to plead guilty and serve the rest of his life in prison to avoid the death penalty – a deal that would bring a swift end to the sometimes wrenching courtroom battle and circumvent a prolonged debate over his sanity.

Prosecutors haven’t said whether they would accept the offer, and victims and survivors of last summer’s massacre were divided on what should be done.

Melisa Cowden, whose ex-husband was killed in the theater, said Wednesday she was resolutely opposed to a plea deal. READ FULL STORY

Aurora shooting victim appears in gun control PSA -- VIDEO

While attending a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo. this summer, Stephen Barton was shot in the face and neck. But compared to several other victims, he was lucky; Barton lived, and now he’s working to raise awareness of gun violence. According to his new PSA, 48,000 Americans will be shot and murdered during the next four years — “enough to fill over 200 theaters.” He urges viewers to visit DemandAPlan.org, an organization that’s working to end gun violence. See Barton’s poignant PSA below.

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Three injured in Aurora theater shooting file lawsuit against Cinemark

Three people wounded in the shooting that killed 12 people at a Colorado theater have filed lawsuits alleging the exit door the gunman used to enter the building should have had an alarm.

Two lawsuits were filed Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Denise Traynom, Brandon Axelrod and Joshua Nowlan. Their attorney, former Denver judge Christina Habas, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Cinemark USA Inc. had no immediate comment.

The lawsuits filed against the subsidiary of Cinemark Holdings Inc. are believed to be the first. They were filed the same day the company revealed plans to refurbish and reconfigure the theater and have it ready to open by the beginning of 2013.

James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during a special midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
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