Hearings set on second sanity test for theater gunman

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 18, 2013 6:58 PM
Hearings set on second sanity test for theater gunman

By Keith Coffman

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) - A judge presiding over the murder case against accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes on Monday set hearings for next month on whether the onetime graduate student should undergo a second sanity examination.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour set aside four days in late January to hear evidence on a prosecution request to compel Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, to be evaluated by their experts.

Holmes, 26, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder for opening fire inside a suburban Denver cinema in July 2012 during a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises."

The shooting rampage killed 12 moviegoers and wounded or injured dozens of others.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for Holmes if he is convicted.

After invoking the insanity defense, Holmes underwent a court-ordered sanity examination at the state hospital last summer, but the results have not been made public.

Last month, prosecutors filed a motion seeking a second evaluation for Holmes, prompting Samour to indefinitely postpone the trial, which was set to begin in February.

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Appearing disheveled and wearing red prison garb, the California native did not speak during the brief hearing.

Attorneys for Holmes said at an earlier hearing that they have "a diagnosis that's complete" from their expert on the nature of Holmes' mental illness, and he was in the midst of a "psychotic episode" when he committed the mass shooting.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Gunna Dickson)