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Judge Accepts James Holmes' Insanity Plea In Colo. Shootings

The judge presiding over the case of James Holmes, who is accused of a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, has accepted a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.

This sets the table for a potentially lengthy mental examination of Holmes. The AP reports:

"The next step is an evaluation of Holmes by state doctors to determine whether he was insane at the time of the shootings. That could take months.

"Colorado law defines insanity as the inability to distinguish right from wrong caused by a diseased or defective mind.

"If jurors find Holmes not guilty by reason of insanity, he would be committed indefinitely to the state mental hospital. He could eventually be released if doctors find his sanity has been restored, but that is considered unlikely."

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70, when he allegedly opened fire at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo.

The Denver Post reports that Holmes was presented with a stack of papers that advises him about the "possible effects and consequences" of an insanity plea.

When the judge asked Holmes if he had any questions, he answered, "No."

All the filings for today's proceedings are posted on the Arapahoe County District Court website.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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