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Mar 28, 2013 1:22 AM by Eric Ross

Holmes may plead guilty to avoid death penalty

Defense attorneys representing shooting suspect James Holmes have offered to enter a guilty plea and accept a life sentence in exchange for immunity from the death penalty.

Details about the plea were publicly released Wednesday. However, the prosecution has yet to accept or decline the deal.

Earlier this month, a judge entered a plea of not guilty on Holmes' behalf after the defense asked for more time to build their case. So far, the defense has not been able to prove that Holmes is mentally incompetent to stand trial.

If the prosecution denies the plea deal, Holmes will stand trial in August.

Prosecutors are currently speaking with victims to get their input on the deal before responding. So far, reactions are mixed.

Melisa Cowden, whose ex-husband Gordon was killed in the theater, says she's resolutely opposed to a plea deal. Cowden's two teenage daughters were with their father when he was killed, but survived.

Pierce O'Farrill, who was shot three times, says he'd welcome an agreement that would imprison Holmes for life. O'Farrill says the years of court struggles ahead would likely be emotionally stressful for victims.

And Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed, says he wanted prosecutors to pursue the death penalty. He goes on to say he wouldn't object to a plea deal if it avoided a lengthy court battle - and if Holmes got no privileges in prison.

The decision ultimately rests in the hands of the prosecution.

Stay with and News 5 for new developments on this case.



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