Holmes prosecutors must prove sanity

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

DENVER (AP) -- Prosecutors have an uphill battle if James Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. Unlike other states where the defense needs to prove sanity, prosecutors in Colorado are the ones who have to show that a defendant is sane -- and they have to do it without having their own experts examine Holmes.

Holmes is accused in the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded. He is due is in court Thursday where a University of Colorado psychiatrist is expected to testify.

Holmes' defense attorneys say he went to the psychiatrist for help with an undisclosed mental illness. Holmes' mental health is expected to be the major issue in the case. Prosecutors allege Holmes may have been angry at the failure of a once promising academic career.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge William Sylvester has ordered that some of the suspect's educational records can be released to prosecutors, but he required that confidential information be blacked out.

At a hearing last week, prosecutors argued they needed copies of some 100 pages of educational records subpoenaed from the University of Colorado Denver, where suspect James Holmes was a neuroscience doctoral candidate.

Prosecutors say the documents are needed to build a case that would establish a motive for the July 20 shooting that killed 12 people and injured 58 others.

Attorneys for the state say that Holmes made threats, failed a key exam and had been encouraged by professors to seek another line of work in the weeks prior to the shooting.


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