Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty in Aurora Theater Case, Still Might Take Plea Deal


Colorado prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Aurora movie shooter James Holmes, “For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death,” District Attorney George Brauchler said in court, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The decision doesn't remove the possibility that the two sides may reach a plea bargain to avoid a lengthy trial. That Holmes was the shooter is not in doubt. His defense team has repeatedly emphasized his questionable mental state, and it's all but certain that they will pursue an insanity defense. In the case of Tucson shooter Jared Loughner, prosecutors also initially said they were seeking the death penalty before accepting a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison without parole. Holmes’ prosecutors have said they lack the information they need to consider an offer, and that the defense has refused to give them information they’ve requested to evaluate a plea deal. That likely pertains to Holmes’s mental state at the time of the shooting, says Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor now a defense attorney and professor at the University of Denver law school. “Right now, the indication is that they don't believe there is anything out there that is mitigating against the death penalty being appropriate,” she says.

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