DENVER (Reuters) – Lawyers for the man charged with mass murder in a 2012 shooting rampage that left 12 people dead at a Colorado movie theater have asked that his upcoming trial be moved out of the suburban Denver county where the case has been prosecuted.
Defense attorneys argued in their motion for a change of venue that James Holmes cannot get a fair trial in Arapahoe County because of “pervasive media coverage” of the case locally and “the undeniable impact of the tragedy on the community itself.”
Holmes, 26, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder and attempted murder charges stemming from the July 2012 massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, cinema during a screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Jury selection in trial is scheduled to being October 14.
Twelve moviegoers were killed in the rampage and 70 others were injured. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty for Holmes if he is convicted.
Public defenders for Holmes have acknowledged that the one-time neuroscience doctoral candidate was the lone gunman who committed the shooting but say he suffers from a chronic mental illness and was experiencing a psychotic episode when he opened fire in the crowded theater.
There was no immediate response by prosecutors to the change of venue motion, which was filed in court on Holmes’ behalf on Friday and made public on Monday. But the defense said in its filing that prosecutors object to moving the trial.
(Reporting Keith Coffman; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and David Gregorio)