By Clayton Sandell & Carol McKinley, ABC News, May 7, 2013
The man accused of a murderous rampage inside a crowded Aurora, Colo., movie theater last summer has signaled he will pursue an insanity defense. “Mr. Holmes intends to tender a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity,” said attorneys for James Holmes in a court document filed today. [.....]
Holmes is expected to enter the new plea at a hearing scheduled for May 13, the court document said. A judge had previously entered a “not guilty” plea on Holmes’ behalf. Late Tuesday, the judge overseeing the case filed an order saying that Holmes and his legal team will have to establish “good cause” to permit an insanity plea now that the arraignment has passed. [.....]
Once Holmes enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, he will have to undergo a mental health evaluation conducted by Colorado state psychiatrists. How that will affect the start of trial, scheduled for February 2014, is not clear. “The process may take a long time,” said Karen Steinhauser, a former Colorado prosecutor turned defense attorney. An insanity plea also means the confidentiality privilege between a University of Colorado psychiatrist who was treating Holmes before the shooting will be waived.
That would give prosecutors access to whatever Holmes wrote in a notebook he mailed to Dr. Lynne Fenton that was intercepted by police. [....]
James Holmes seeks not guilty insanity plea in Aurora theater shooting
By John Ingold, The Denver Post, May 8, 2013
[.....] An insanity plea by Holmes has long been expected. As recently as last month, Holmes' attorneys wrote in a motion that Holmes "suffers from a serious mental illness."
But Tuesday's filing nonetheless changes the course of the case, in part because it is just short of a confession. By saying he wants to enter an insanity plea, Holmes is saying he won't contest that he was the masked and armored man who sprayed a crowded movie theater with gunfire in one of the worst mass shootings in American history.
Instead, Holmes' attorneys will argue Holmes was so mentally ill that it affected his reasoning in a way that prevented him from distinguishing right from wrong, said Dr. Steven Pitt, a nationally known forensic psychiatrist [.....]