In previous filings, attorneys for James Holmes, accused in last July's Aurora theater shooting, have implied strongly that he was the gunman in the murder of twelve people and the wounding of dozens more.
Now, however, a passage in a newly released document on view below makes an explicit statement about the matter.
It states that Holmes committed the homicidal acts while under the influence of mental illness.
In March, as we've reported, Holmes's defense team filed a "Notice in Response to This Court's Scheduling Order," also shared here, claiming that lawyers working on his behalf "made an offer to the prosecution to resolve this case" by Holmes "pleading guilty and spending the rest of his life in prison, without any opportunity for parole."
This deal was rejected, according to the document, because prosecutors wanted to keep open the option of pursuing capital punishment in the case. "Consequently, it appears the only impediment to a resolution of this case would be if the prosecution chooses to seek the death penalty," it states. "If the prosecution elects not to pursue the death penalty, then it is Mr. Holmes's position that this case could be resolved on April 1."
The latest document, sporting the labyrinthine title "Objection to Court's Ruling on Mr. Holmes' Motion for a Fair Trial Unemcumbered by an Unnecessary Display of Courtroom Security and Renewed Request for a Hearing," features a July 9 date but was filed yesterday. The opening section deals with the court's order that "Mr. Holmes...be hitched to the floor like an animal during the trial" by way of a harness worn under his clothing, with a cable anchoring him to the floor -- a mandate Holmes's attorneys consider "incorrect, troubling and inhumane."
A number of past court cases are cited to bolster this argument. But for many observers, the most interesting sentences can be found in the fifth section. The excerpt reads: "Other than the nature of the charges in this case, there is no evidence that Mr. Holmes presents a danger to the safety of the courtroom or a flight risk of any kind. To the contrary, the evidence revealed thus far in the case supports the defense's position that Mr. Holmes suffers from a severe mental illness and was in the throes of a psychotic episode when he committed the acts that resulted in the tragic loss of life and injuries sustained by moviegoers on July 20, 2012," during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 theater in Aurora.
Holmes's not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity plea was entered last month, but without such a specific statement regarding his conduct.
Look below to see the most recent document, followed by the aforementioned notice from March.