CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against accused theater gunman James Holmes in the slaying of 12 moviegoers during a showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" last year, they said in court on Monday.
Holmes, 25, is accused of opening fire inside a suburban Denver theater during a July screening of the movie, in what was one of the deadliest outbursts of gun violence in the United States in recent years.
Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for the shooting massacre that also wounded 58 moviegoers. Another dozen people suffered non-gunshot injuries as they fled the Aurora, Colorado, cinema.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler
already had announced he has a death penalty lawyer on the prosecution team and he rejected a defense offer to let Holmes plead guilty and serve a life sentence if capital punishment is taken off the table.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester entered a not guilty plea for Holmes last month, but said he would consider allowing that to be changed to not guilty by reason of insanity.
Last week, public defenders said in a court filing that Holmes was willing to plead guilty and serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole if prosecutors would not try to execute their client.
While Holmes' attorneys said they are prepared to mount an insanity defense, they wrote in the filing that "Mr. Holmes is currently willing to resolve the case to bring the proceedings to a speedy and definite conclusion for all involved."
Brauchler fired back in a written response, calling the move by the defense improper at this stage of the case and "that it was filed for the intended purpose of generating the predictable pretrial publicity."