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Aurora shooting suspect faces battle against death penalty

Our previous post covered how Colorado won't be eliminating the death penalty anytime in the near future. And it looks like the rejection of the bill to throw out the death penalty came just in time to support prosecutors' goal regarding the Colorado murder case against now notorious suspect, James Holmes.

Holmes is best known as "the Aurora theater shooter" after the incident of violence at a movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises last year. Twelve people were killed in the incident while many more were injured. The shootings inspired fights against gun violence as well as little sympathy for the defendant.

As of this morning, Holmes and his defense team know the fate that they are fighting against in the murder trial. Prosecutors announced that they intend to get Holmes convicted of the murder charges before him and to add him to the list of death row residents in Colorado.

Last week, Holmes' team presented a deal that the he would plead guilty to the violent crimes if it meant that he could avoid the threat of the death penalty as sentencing. Today's announcement is a rejection of that settlement proposal, a rejection that didn't take long for the prosecution to deliver.

This development in the high-profile Colorado murder case brings to mind the anti-death penalty proposal that recently failed. Because of the level of violence and the death toll associated with the Aurora theater incident, eliminating the death penalty in the state likely will be a tough battle. The devastation from the violent act is still fresh in the minds of Coloradoans.

For now, Holmes lives with the fear that he will be executed if convicted of murder. However, reports indicate that the defense team is developing an argument of mental illness. If proved successfully, a mental illness defense could mitigate the severity of sentencing and save Holmes from spending his last days on death row.

Our criminal defense lawyers handle Colorado murder cases and cases involving allegations of other violent crimes.

Source: Fox 31 Denver, "Prosecutors will seek death penalty for James Holmes," April 1, 2013

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