Weather Updates

Judge: Too early for defense query in Colorado theater shootings

DENVER (AP) — The judge in the Colorado theater shootings says he won’t rule on constitutional questions raised by defense lawyers unless suspect James Holmes decides he wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. on Friday rejected a request from Holmes’ attorneys to rule on their contention that state death penalty and insanity laws overlap in ways that could violate his protection against self-incrimination and other rights.

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July shootings. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes’ lawyers maintain they can’t advise him how to plead because of their questions about the laws.

A judge entered a not guilty plea on Holmes’ behalf but said he could ask to change it to insanity.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.