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James Holmes Update: Prosecutors to seek death penalty for alleged Colo. theater shooter

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 during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., on March 12, 2013.
AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool

(CBS/AP) CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Prosecutors on Monday said they will seek the death penalty against James Holmes, the accused gunman in last year's movie theater attack that killed 12, injured 58 and spurred new gun control laws in Colorado.

PICTURES: The Colorado massacre suspect

The much-anticipated disclosure came in a court hearing held four days after prosecutors publicly rejected an offer by Holmes' attorneys that the former neuroscience graduate student would plead guilty to avoid execution.

Prosecutors had said the defense proposal wasn't a valid plea bargain offer, although they could still agree to a plea before the case goes to trial.

Holmes' attorneys are expected to argue he is not guilty because he was legally insane at the time of the July 20 shooting. They balked at entering that plea last month, saying they couldn't make such a move until prosecutors made a formal decision on the death penalty.

Investigators say Holmes methodically stockpiled weapons and ammunition for his assault on a packed midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," and booby-trapped his apartment to explode and distract any police who responded.

The massacre was repeatedly cited by gun control advocates who pushed a hotly contested package through the Colorado state Legislature last month. The bills include a ban on the sort of high-capacity magazines that Holmes allegedly used to spray the theater with dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds.

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  • Crimesider Staff

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