Colorado judge rebuffs death penalty challenges in theater massacre case

By REUTERS
May 31, 2014 04:47

 
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DENVER - A Colorado judge overseeing the murder case against the gunman charged with killing 12 moviegoers has denied the latest efforts by defense lawyers to have the state's death penalty law ruled unconstitutional, court documents show.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour said on Friday the issues raised in three separate motions filed by lawyers for James Holmes about the lack of a grand jury indictment have already been litigated, and the law has been upheld by both state and federal higher courts.

Holmes, 26, is accused of murder and attempted murder for opening fire in a suburban Denver cinema in July 2012, killing 12 moviegoers and injuring 70 during a screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises."

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyers have acknowledged he was the sole gunman, but they say the onetime neuroscience graduate student suffers from a chronic mental illness.

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