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Prosecutors Will Seek Death Penalty In Colorado Theater Shootings

Accused Aurora theater gunman James Holmes during a March court hearing in Centennial, Colo.

Rejecting James Holmes' offer to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, prosecutors in Colorado announced Monday that they will seek the death penalty for the young man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 in a mass shooting last July at a movie theater.

As Denver's KUSA-TV writes, "after a week of legal twists and turns ... Holmes could face execution if convicted."

Last week, as we reported, the 25-year-old Holmes' attorneys made the plea offer -- but prosecutors called it a publicity ploy. Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio tells our Newscast Desk that prosecutors "were left fuming that plea negotiations were made public ... violating the court's media gag order."

The Denver Post notes that "Holmes' attorneys said in their filing last week that they may pursue a mental-health defense and file numerous pre-trial motions if the case goes to trial." It adds that in court Monday, "District Attorney George Brauchler ... said his office consulted with 800 victims [and family members] before deciding to seek death for Holmes. Holmes appeared to have no reaction [to the announcement]."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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