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Colorado shootings suspect to enter insanity plea

FILE - In this March 12, 2013 file photo, James Holmes, left, and defense attorney Tamara Brady appear in district court in Centennial, Colo. for his arraignment. Lawyers for Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater, said Tuesday May 7, 2013 he wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)

FILE - In this March 12, 2013 file photo, James Holmes, left, and defense attorney Tamara Brady appear in district court in Centennial, Colo. for his arraignment. Lawyers for Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater, said Tuesday May 7, 2013 he wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)

The man accused in the deadly Colorado theater shootings wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyers said yesterday.

Attorneys for James Holmes said in a court filing they plan to formally ask for the change of plea at Monday’s hearing.

The insanity plea was widely expected given the compelling evidence against Holmes, who is accused of opening fire July 20 in a crowded theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Twelve people were killed and 70 injured.

But his lawyers delayed entering an insanity plea for weeks, saying Colorado’s insanity and death penalty laws overlapped in a way that could severely – and unconstitutionally – hamper his defense if he did plead insanity.

The defense has asked both judges who have presided over the case to rule on the constitutionality of the laws. Both judges refused, saying the question was speculative because Holmes hadn’t entered an insanity plea. That left Holmes’s lawyers with no choice but to enter the insanity plea, then seek a ruling on the constitutionality question.

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