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Not guilty plea is entered in Colorado mass shooting

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A judge entered a not guilty plea Tuesday for James Holmes, a former neuroscience student charged with killing 12 people and wounding scores more in a mass shooting in a suburban Denver movie theater.

In the days before Tuesday's hearing, Judge William Sylvester had laid the groundwork for Holmes to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, describing the mental examinations and court-ordered interviews that would flow from such a plea.

But Holmes' lawyers told the court Tuesday that they were not ready to enter any plea and said they did not know when they might be ready.

Clearly frustrated, Sylvester refused the defense's requests for more time and entered the simple not guilty plea for Holmes.

Holmes, 25, was arrested moments after the July 20 shooting at the Century theaters in Aurora, clad in black body armor. Prosecutors have already presented hours of testimony and documentary evidence that Holmes was the gunman who slipped out of a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, armed himself in the parking lot, and then re-entered through an emergency exit and started shooting.

Holmes can still change the plea, but prosecutors signaled they would fight any such move.

Prosecutors said they would announce whether they would seek the death penalty against Holmes at an April 1 hearing.

The judge set a four-week trial for August. Given the delays in the case, that date may not hold.

Not guilty plea is entered in Colorado mass shooting 03/12/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:26am]

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