Judge in theater shootings won't bar death penalty

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2014 3:51 PM

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The judge in the Colorado theater shootings case has rejected another attempt by defense lawyers to rule out the death penalty.

Attorneys for defendant James Holmes had asked the judge to bar prosecutors from seeking execution, saying Holmes is mentally ill and putting him to death would be cruel and unusual punishment.

In a ruling released Thursday, the judge said Holmes' mental health is in dispute and would be an issue during the trial. The judge also said the defense didn't make a persuasive argument that executing a mentally ill person was cruel and unusual.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 2012 attack on a Denver-area theater.

His trial is scheduled to start Jan. 20.