Judge rejects legal challenges by accused Colorado theater gunman

Reuters News
Posted: May 29, 2013 5:10 PM
Judge rejects legal challenges by accused Colorado theater gunman

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado judge on Wednesday rejected challenges to the state's insanity defense statute and death penalty law by accused movie theater gunman James Holmes, according to court documents.

"The provisions in the insanity statutes and the death penalty statute challenged by the defendant are constitutional. Accordingly, the motions are now denied in their entirety," Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour said in his 51-page written ruling.

Attorneys for Holmes, 25, had argued the state's insanity defense law was unconstitutional because it forces him to cooperate with court-appointed psychiatrists. They had also challenged Colorado's death penalty law as unconstitutional.

The defense arguments were the latest legal wrangling surrounding the mass shooting that killed 12 moviegoers and wounded dozens of others at an Aurora, Colorado, cinema during a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," last July 20.

Holmes, a former graduate student, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if he is convicted.

His trial is scheduled for February 2014.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman, writing by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Paul Thomasch, G Crosse)