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Colorado Theater Shooter’s Insanity Defense Weakened
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Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour said last week that James Holmes, the Colorado movie theater shooter, has been found competent to stand trial by sanity evaluators. Lawyers for Holmes, who is charged with killing 12 persons and wounding dozens of others during a midnight screening of a Batman film, had invoked the insanity defense.

An evaluation of the mental state of health by both court-appointed mental health experts and independent experts followed to determine his sanity at the time of the killings and his competence to stand trial at present.


While Samour did not make clear whether Holmes could be deemed insane at the time of the shootings, he disclosed that Holmes was deemed competent to stand trial. The trial has already been inordinately delayed due to legal wrangling over mental evaluations of Holmes.

There is little news forthcoming about the proceedings as lawyers for both sides are under a gag order imposed by a previous judge appointed to the matter. Another closed hearing is expected to decide, whether Holmes should undergo another sanity evaluation.

Defense attorneys for Holmes have represented that Holmes was temporarily insane at the time he geared up and shot moviegoers in the dark. After the sanity evaluators from both sides completed their work, prosecutors filed a motion for further testing. Samour mentioned in his ruling that prosecutors have expressed their belief that some of the experts who did the evaluations had “an unfair bias.”

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However, Samour did not mention whether the prosecutors objected to the evaluation or not. He scheduled the closed hearing for next month to determine whether Holmes should be subject to further psychological evaluation.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and other charges, and the death penalty may be sought if he is found to have acted in cold blood.



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