James Holmes' lawyers file new death penalty challenges

This June 4,2013 file photo shows Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in court in Centennial, Colo. AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool,File

DENVER Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes have filed six new constitutional challenges to the death penalty, saying execution is cruel and unusual punishment.

The challenges also say executions in Colorado are arbitrary.

The motions were among 20 made public Tuesday. They were filed last week.

Holmes is accused of shooting and killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in a suburban Denver movie theater in July 2012.

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

His trial is scheduled to start in February.

The defense filed two other challenges to Colorado death penalty laws in August, saying they don't set clear standards and make it too hard for jurors to weigh mitigating factors.

Last week, prosecutors said they want Holmes' mental health recordsfrom the state hospital and from a university where Holmes was a graduate student.

In a court filing, prosecutors said they plan to submit subpoenas for the records and asked the judge to set Sept. 30 -- the next hearing date in the case -- as the day the records must be turned over.

Prosecutors said they are entitled to the records because Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

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