Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes, who shot and killed 12 people in a theater in 2012, was found sane by two experts immediately following the attack, prosecutors say.
James Holmes, 27, has admitted the killings, but pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity.
He opened fire during the midnight premiere of a Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012.
Officials say he was wearing body armor, threw smoke canisters and shot at people trying to escape.
If the jury finds him not guilty on grounds of insanity, James Holmes will spend the rest of his life in a mental institution for the criminally insane.
Otherwise James Holmes faces the death penalty.
During opening statements on April 27, District Attorney George Brauchler said both mental health evaluators agreed on James Holmes’ mental state at the time of the attack.
“Both of them said the same thing – that the guy was sane when he tried to murder all those people in the theatre,” he said.
Prosecutors have argued the attack was clearly premeditated, with James Holmes planning and amassing weapons for months, as well as elaborately booby-trapping his apartment to kill anyone who tried to enter.
His parents wrote a letter to the Denver Post in December calling for his life to the spared.
Robert and Arlene Holmes said their son was “not a monster”, but suffers from severe mental illness.
The trial comes after two and a half years of complicated legal questions related to the death penalty and the insanity plea, and after nearly three months of jury selection.
The mental health evaluations could be a key factor. Judge Carlos Samour ordered a second mental health exam after prosecutors said the first one was biased. Defense lawyers objected to a second test.
At the time of the shooting, James Holmes was a graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado in Denver, but was withdrawing from his studies after failing a key exam.
When he was arrested, James Holmes’ hair had been dyed red in an apparent reference to the Joker, a Batman villain.
James Holmes appeared dazed in his first court appearance, and cameras were banned from further hearings.
Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes’ trial has been postponed indefinitely on Thursday.
District Judge Carlos Samour ordered the delay as attorneys on both sides debated whether the suspected shooter should undergo another psychiatric evaluation.
James Holmes’ trial had been set to begin with jury selection on February 3.
The 25-year-old faces charges of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others during the 2012 attack at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a premiere of The Dark Knight.
His attorneys have not disputed that he committed the shootings but have entered plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
James Holmes’ trial has been postponed indefinitely
Throughout a roughly 40-minute hearing on Thursday, James Holmes appeared expressionless as he sat in shackles and in a red prison jumpsuit and grown-in beard. He did not interact with his defense team or the bailiffs.
Prosecutors are challenging at least one of three aspects in the states’ first mental health evaluation and are seeking another examination. The findings of the evaluation have not been publically disclosed but the fact that prosecutors want further evaluation suggests the first exam might have found Holmes was insane.
If James Holmes were found by jurors to have been insane at the time of the shooting, he would be committed to state hospital instead of prison. As such, the findings of any psychiatric evaluations are crucial to the case.
Judge Carlos Samour set future hearings on further testing and other pre-trial issues for December 17 and 18.
A hearing scheduled for November 22 and a capitol motions hearings scheduled from December 2 to December 20 have been cancelled, but in the course of discussion today, the judge indicated he hoped that the trial could start as early as April.
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