James Holmes to Plead Insanity in Aurora Theater Massacre

05/07/2013 at 06:50 PM EDT

James Holmes to Plead Insanity in Aurora Massacre
James Holmes
RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post/Getty
The man accused in the deadly Colorado theater shootings wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyers said Tuesday.

Attorneys for James Holmes said in a court filing they plan to formally ask for the change of plea at a May 13 hearing.

The insanity plea was widely expected given the compelling evidence against Holmes, who is accused of opening fire July 20 in a crowded theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Twelve people were killed and 70 injured.

Holmes, 25, is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.



A judge in the case previously entered a standard not guilty plea for him. If a judge accepts the new plea, Holmes would be sent to the state mental hospital, where doctors would determine whether he was insane at the time of the shootings.

If the doctors do determine that Holmes was insane, a jury could still find him guilty.

Colorado law defines insanity as the inability to distinguish right from wrong, caused by a diseased or defective mind. The law specifically excludes depravity, "moral obliquity" or passion caused by anger or hatred from being considered insanity.



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