James Holmes offers guilty plea to avoid death penalty

9:25 AM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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AURORA, CO - Attorneys for Denver-area theater shooting suspect James Holmes have offered to have him plead guilty and be jailed for life to avoid the death penalty.

The prosecution has not yet responded to the offer, which came in a court filing Wednesday.

"Mr. Holmes is currently willing to resolve the case to bring the proceedings to a speedy and definite conclusion," the filing reads.

The defense team said the case could end Monday if the Arapahoe County district attorney accepts the deal. Prosecutors planned to announce Monday whether they would seek the death penalty.

Holmes, 25, is charged with first-degree murder for the July 20 rampage that killed 12 moviegoers and wounded nearly 60 others at the premiere of the latest Batman film at a multiplex in Aurora.

On March 12, a judge entered a not guilty plea on Holmes' behalf but said Holmes could enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity later.

Trial is set for Aug. 5.

KUSA, a Denver TV station owned by Gannett, WGRZ's parent company, notes that a similar plea deal was offered to Jared Loughner, the man charged in a Tuscon mass shooting. The federal government withdrew the death penalty after he pleaded guilty to killing six and wounding 13, including former U.S. congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in January 2011.

Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms and an additional 140 years.

Arizona authorities have just released crime reports from the case, which had been sealed by court order.

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