Judge enters plea for Batman attack

2013-03-12 21:47
This courtroom sketch shows James Holmes being escorted by a deputy as he arrives at preliminary hearing in district court in Centennial, Colorado. (Picture: AP)

This courtroom sketch shows James Holmes being escorted by a deputy as he arrives at preliminary hearing in district court in Centennial, Colorado. (Picture: AP)

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Centennial - A US judge entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of alleged Aurora theatre gunman James Holmes on Tuesday, after his lawyers said they were not ready to enter a plea.

The judge left it open for lawyers for the 25-year-old to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity at a later date, at Holmes's arraignment for the killing of 12 people in the Colorado town of Aurora last July.

Judge William Sylvester set a trial date for 5 August.

Defence attorney Daniel King said he would be ready to make a plea by 1 May or 1 June.

Prosecutors objected and said they had waited long enough, to which the judge agreed and entered a standard not guilty plea.

Holmes is accused over the 20 July massacre at a midnight screening of the Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, which revived America's perennial debate about gun control.

Witnesses said Holmes threw smoke bomb-type devices before opening fire randomly with weapons, including an AR-15 military-style rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .40-caliber pistol.

Holmes' arraignment had initially been scheduled for January, but the judge agreed at that time to delay it, triggering anger from some of the victims' relatives.

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