Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes said Wednesday he would plead guilty and serve the rest of his life in prison to avoid the death penalty.
The offer comes just days before the prosecution was set to announce whether they would seek to have Holmes put to death for the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70.
Prosecutors wouldn’t say Wednesday whether they’d go along with a plea deal, and likely will consult with victims of the Aurora massacre and their families before deciding whether to accept the offer.
If they agree, the case that started July 20 – when prosecutors say Holmes carried out the midnight attack during a showing of the new Batman movie – could end quickly. In the filing, defense attorneys say the only thing that would hinder Holmes changing his plea on Monday is the prosecution’s decision.
In the filing, Holmes’s lawyers said they initially made the offer to plead guilty before Holmes’ arraignment on March 12. At that hearing, Holmes’s attorneys told a judge they weren’t ready to enter a plea in the case, and the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Defense attorneys also said they’re still exploring a mental health defense and “counsel will vigorously present and argue any and all appropriate defenses at a trial or sentencing proceeding, as necessary.”