Holmes Was in Psychotic Episode During Shooting, Lawyers Say

James E. Holmes was in a “psychotic episode” when he opened fire in a Colorado movie theater last year and shouldn’t be physically restrained when he goes on trial on charges that he murdered 12 people, his lawyers said.

“Other than the nature of the charges in this case, there is no evidence that Mr. Holmes presents a danger to the safety of the courtroom or a flight risk of any kind,” a defense lawyer wrote in objecting to a court order that Holmes wear a harness that’s anchored to the floor at his trial, according to a filing today in state court in Centennial, Colorado.

“Mr. Holmes suffers from a severe mental illness and was in the throes of a psychotic episode when he committed the acts that resulted in the tragic loss of life and injuries sustained by moviegoers on July 20, 2012,” his lawyers said.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges stemming from the shooting rampage. In addition to those killed, 70 people were injured in the July 20 shooting spree at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Cinemark Holdings Inc. (CNK)’s Century Aurora 16 theater in the Denver suburb.

Prosecutors have said they’ll seek the death penalty.

The case is People v. Holmes, 12-cr-01522, 18th Judicial District Court, Colorado (Centennial).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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