James Holmes: Judge Enters Not Guilty Plea

James Holmes Headshot - P 2012

James Holmes Headshot - P 2012

The accused theater shooter and his attorneys said they were not ready to enter a plea in time for Tuesday’s arraignment.

A judge Tuesday entered a not guilty plea for James Holmes after the accused theater shooter and his attorneys said they were not ready to enter a plea.

According to CNN, court documents suggest that Holmes’ attorneys might enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, as had been widely speculated during his January hearing. Holmes’ attorneys might still enter an insanity plea, but it would be subject to the judge’s approval.

Holmes is suspected of a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in July, which left 12 people dead and 58 injured. Since he was taken into custody, Holmes’ court proceedings often have been delayed because of his self-inflicted injuries. Tuesday’s arraignment also had been delayed in order to allow Holmes’ defense team to look over all the evidence, including photos and police testimonies. On Tuesday, attorney Daniel King – who was reportedly late to the proceedings due to unexpected snowfall – requested that Judge William Blair Sylvester delay the arraignment yet again, but he was denied.

Prosecutors say they will make a decision on whether to seek the death penalty in the case during an April 1 hearing, CNN reports, but an insanity plea could complicate matters.

“There are a few reasons they wouldn’t go for the death penalty, the most important one being his mental state,” David Beller, an attorney not connected with the case, told CNN. “The Supreme Court, and really society, has been very clear: We don’t execute people who are mentally ill.”

Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other charges. His trial date has been set for Aug. 5.