- (Photo: REUTERS/The University of Colorado)
Aurora shooter James Holmes has offered to enter a guilty plea in order to avoid the death penalty. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 at a massacre at a theater in Aurora, Colo.
His attorneys offered Holmes the opportunity to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of receiving the death penalty. Now Holmes has accepted the deal and could remain behind bars for the rest of his life. Prosecutors have yet to accept the deal.
"Prior to arrangement, Mr. Holmes made an offer to the prosecution to resolve this case by pleading guilty and spending the rest of his life in prison, without any opportunity for parole. If the prosecution elects not to pursue the death penalty, then it is Mr. Holmes' position that this case could be resolved on April 1," documents filed in court read.
District Attorney George Brauchler will announce his decision as to the penalty he will seek Monday. It's likely that Holmes will receive the lesser sentence, given that there are only three people on death row in the state of Colorado. However, should prosecutors seek the death penalty, Holmes' attorneys will likely use an insanity defense.
Holmes faces a total of 166 charges of murder, attempted murder and other crimes. Not only did he allegedly open fire at the Aurora theater, he booby-trapped his apartment, putting first responders at great risk and causing them to have to work extra hard to enter his apartment and search for evidence.
"This is not a 'whodunit.' Everybody knows that James Holmes committed these horrible murders," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "The question is what punishment he will get. If [defense attorneys] can get life in prison, they will consider this a victory."
Families of victims are torn about the opportunity to see Holmes' life spared, but said that they would like to see the case over as quickly as possible.
"I'm in favor of the death penalty, and I'd like to see it in this case, but I'm not in favor of dragging this thing out. I loved my nephew dearly and we miss him every single day. If it was over today, it would alleviate a lot of the pain and suffering," Dave Hoover told The Los Angeles Times. His nephew was shot in the theater.