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Originally published Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

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Colorado top court rejects Holmes appeal

The Colorado Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes' request that he not have to undergo a second psychiatric evaluation.


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DENVER —

The Colorado Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes' request that he not have to undergo a second psychiatric evaluation.

The high court also kept Holmes' petition sealed so the public cannot view the details of the defendant's case. Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a 2012 attack on a suburban Denver movie theater. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Because prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, Holmes' fate likely hangs on whether the jury decides he was insane at the time of the shooting.

Holmes underwent a mandatory psychiatric evaluation last summer. The key finding -- whether Holmes was sane at the time of the attack -- has not been made public, but prosecutors asked for the second review, claiming the first was flawed.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who is presiding over the case, ruled in February that the first evaluation was "incomplete and inadequate" and ordered Holmes to undergo a second.

Samour said the first evaluation was based on insufficient data and reached some unsupported conclusions. Much of his explanation was redacted, with nearly half of the 50-page ruling blacked out.

The defense objected to the second evaluation, saying in court documents that Samour misinterpreted the law and made other errors. On Monday, the defense asked the Colorado Supreme Court to overturn the order.

The Supreme Court unanimously refused to hear Holmes' appeal on the second evaluation. It also rejected by a 5-2 vote a second Holmes request to keep victims of the shooting from watching the trial.



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