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James Holmes' Lawyers Say He Killed 12 People In 'Throes Of A Psychotic Episode'

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- For the first time, lawyers for accused theater shooter James Holmes say he killed 12 people and wounded dozens more at an Aurora movie theater last summer.

But Holmes' lawyers say he was "in the throes of a psychotic episode" at the time.

The admission came in a motion filed Tuesday but made public Wednesday. His lawyers were trying to argue that Holmes should be unrestrained during his upcoming trial.

"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," Holmes' lawyers wrote.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other offenses – a plea that stops just short of a confession. But this week's motion is the first time Holmes' attorneys have explicitly said he committed the shootings, The Denver Post reported (

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Judge Carlos Samour rejected the motion for Holmes to be unrestrained during his trial, saying it was "not appropriate." Instead, Holmes is to be tethered to the floor.

"The Court chose the least restrictive form of restraint available and the one that could be hidden from the jury's view," Samour wrote.

In a separate filing, Holmes' lawyers blasted the judge for meeting outside of the defense's presence with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's department about courtroom security around Holmes.

Samour responded that it is within his powers to arrange for courtroom security.



Read the motion:

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