Judge accepts insanity plea in Colo. shooting case

June 4, 2013 Associated Press

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- A judge accepted James Holmes' long-awaited plea of not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday and ordered him to undergo a mental evaluation — an examination that could be a decisive factor in whether the Colorado theater shooting suspect is convicted and sentenced to die.

The judge also granted prosecutors access to a hotly contested notebook that Holmes sent to a psychiatrist shortly before the July 20 rampage, which left 12 people dead and 70 injured in a bloody, bullet-riddled movie theater in suburban Denver.

Taken together, the three developments marked a major step forward in the 10-month-old case, which at times has inched along through thickets of legal arguments or veered off on tangents.

Holmes faces more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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