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James Holmes Update: Colo. theater shooting suspect did it in "psychotic episode," his lawyers say

File-This June 4,2013 file photo shows Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in court in Centennial, Colo. Holmes is scheduled Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at a hearing where the judge overseeing the Colorado theater shooting case will reconsider the timing of the trial and other proceedings. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool,File) Andy Cross

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

(CBS/AP) DENVER - For the first time, lawyers for accused theater shooter James Holmes say he killed 12 people and wounded dozens more at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater last summer.

But Holmes' lawyers say he was "in the throes of a psychotic episode" at the time.

PICTURES: The Colorado massacre suspect

The admission came in a motion filed Tuesday but made public Wednesday. His lawyers were trying to argue that Holmes should be unrestrained during his upcoming trial.

"Holmes suffers from a severe mental illness and was in the throes of a psychotic episode when he committed the acts that resulted in the tragic loss of life and injuries," Holmes' lawyers wrote.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other offenses -- a plea that stops just short of a confession. But this week's motion is the first time Holmes' attorneys have explicitly said he committed the shootings, The Denver Post reported.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Judge Carlos Samour rejected the motion for Holmes to be unrestrained during his trial, saying it was "not appropriate." Instead, Holmes is to be tethered to the floor.

"The Court chose the least restrictive form of restraint available and the one that could be hidden from the jury's view," Samour wrote.

In a separate filing, Holmes' lawyers blasted the judge for meeting outside of the defense's presence with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's department about courtroom security around Holmes.

Samour responded that it is within his powers to arrange for courtroom security.

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  • Crimesider Staff

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