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Defense team says Holmes committed Colorado theater shooting

By Chuck Johnston, CNN
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Thu July 11, 2013
The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/21/us/gallery/colorado-mourning-victims/index.html' target='_blank'>More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre</a> The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In a court filing, Holmes admits to the mass shooting for the first time
  • He is the suspect in last year's shooting spree at a movie theater in Colorado
  • Court document says he was having "a psychotic episode" at the time of the shooting

(CNN) -- James Holmes was in "the throes of a psychotic episode when he committed acts that resulted in the tragic loss of life" at a Colorado movie theater a year ago, his attorneys said in a court filing.

It is the first time the defense has admitted that Holmes killed 12 people in the mass shooting, The Denver Post reported.

The judge in Holmes' murder trial last month accepted the defendant's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Suspect to wear hidden harness during trial

Holmes previously offered to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life behind bars if authorities would spare his life, but prosecutors in Arapahoe County announced in April they would seek the death penalty.

Parents not surprised by Holmes' plea

The defense then decided to make an insanity plea.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. has told attorneys he expects the trial to take place in 2014.

The burden is on the prosecution to prove that Holmes was sane at the time of the shootings. Attorneys will use the results of a mental evaluation as evidence at the trial.

Holmes faces murder and other charges in the July 20, 2012, shooting spree at the premiere of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."

Rescue workers weren't prepared for chaos of Aurora shooting

CNN's Jim Spellman and Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report.

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