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James Holmes Update: Colo. theater shooting suspect offers guilty plea

James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, sits in the courtroom during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., March 12, 2013. Judge William Blair Sylvester entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Holmes on Tuesday after the former graduate student's defense team said he was not ready to enter one. AP/Denver Post/RJ Sangosti

James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, sits in the courtroom during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., on March 12, 2013.
AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool
(AP) DENVER - Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes said Wednesday he would plead guilty and serve the rest of his life in prison to avoid the death penalty.

PICTURES: The Colorado massacre suspect

Prosecutors are set to announce Monday whether they'll seek capital punishment and wouldn't comment on the filing, although defense attorneys said their offer hasn't been accepted.

"The prosecution at this time has not accepted that offer because it may choose to pursue the death penalty. Consequently, it appears the only impediment to a resolution of this case would be if the prosecution chooses to seek the death penalty. If the prosecution elects not to pursue the death penalty, it is Mr. Holmes' position that this case could be resolved April 1," defense lawyers wrote.

Prosecutors would likely consult with victims and their families before deciding whether to accept the offer.

Holmes' attorneys told a judge earlier this month they weren't ready to enter a plea in the case, and the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Prosecutors say Holmes planned the assault for months, casing the theater complex in Aurora, amassing a small arsenal and rigging potentially deadly booby-traps in his apartment.

Then he donned a police-style helmet and body armor, tossed a gas canister into the theater crowd and opened fire, prosecutors said.

Twelve people were killed, and 58 others were injured, in the July 20, 2012 attack.

Nearly eight months later, the defense has dropped hints about Holmes' mental state but has given no clear statement on whether he would plead insanity. The Holmes former graduate student at the University of Colorado, Denver, had seen a psychiatrist at the school before the shootings.

Last week, his lawyers revealed that he was taken to a hospital psychiatric ward in November because he was considered a threat to himself. Holmes was held there for several days and spent much of the time in restraints.

The judge has scheduled the trial to start Aug. 5, setting aside four weeks.

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  • Crimesider Staff

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