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Holmes Offered Guilty Plea in Colorado Theater Shooting

James Holmes, charged with murder for a July shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead, offered to plead guilty and spend his life in prison without any chance of parole, according to a court filing.

Lawyers for Holmes said the offer was made before his March 12 arraignment and that prosecutors, who are considering seeking the death penalty, haven’t accepted it yet, according to the filing yesterday in state court in Centennial, in suburban Denver. Prosecutors are expected to inform the court of their decision on the death penalty on April 1.

“It appears the only impediment to a resolution of this case would be if the prosecution chooses to seek the death penalty,” Jeff Middleton, Daniel King and Tamara Brady, lawyers with the Colorado public defender’s office, said in the filing. “If the prosecution elects not to pursue the death penalty, then it is Mr. Holmes’ position that this case could be resolved on April 1.”

Judge William Sylvester entered a not guilty plea at Holmes’s arraignment because King said his client wasn’t ready to plead. Defenders have said they are considering an insanity plea.

If prosecutors ask for the death penalty, Holmes may become the first capital defendant to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s insanity-defense laws.

Probable Cause

Sylvester ruled in January that the government established probable cause that Holmes committed the crimes of which he’s accused. Holmes, who studied neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Denver, is charged with 166 counts, including murder and attempted murder.

Lisa Pinto, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County district attorney’s office, didn’t immediately respond to a phone and message and e-mail seeking comment on yesterday’s filing.

Colorado State Public Defender Douglas Wilson also didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the filing.

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

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