A judge presiding over the trial of the Colorado movie theater shooter postponed court proceedings Thursday while attorneys argue over whether the gunman should be subjected to another battery of mental health tests for his insanity plea.
James Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 moviegoers and wounding 70 others at a theater in Aurora, Colo., in July 2012. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and want Holmes to undergo additional mental evaluations ahead of the trial, which was set to begin in February, the Associated Pres reports.
Two near hearings regarding the testing and other pretrial issues were scheduled for Dec. 17-18 by District Judge Carlos Samour Jr. Holmes’ lawyers aren’t disputing the charges that he was the shooter, but his insanity plea means the psychiatric evaluations that assess his mindset at the time will be crucial portions of evidence.
Anyone in Colorado who pleads insanity must be evaluated by the state mental hospital to determine whether they could tell right from wrong due to a mental defect or disease. Holmes underwent his evaluation last summer.