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Monday
Apr012013

Colorado Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for James Holmes

Parents Arlene and Robert Holmes, of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes, arrive at court, Monday April 01, 2013. RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post(AURORA, Colo.) -- Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes will face the death penalty if tried and convicted, prosecutors announced on Monday.

Prosecutors from the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office said at a hearing Monday in Aurora, Colo., that they will seek execution for Holmes if he is found guilty.

"For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death," District Attorney George Brauchler said in court Monday.

A couple of victims' relatives cried.  Holmes' parents were also in court.  He looked at them when he came in.  After the announcement, Holmes' father nodded his head and put his arm around his wife.

Brauchler said his office has reached out to 800 victims and that he had personally spoken with relatives of 60 victims who died and were injured.  Brauchler said he didn't speak to anyone about the decision.

The decision follows several days of wrangling between the defense and prosecution over Holmes' offer to plead guilty in a bid to avoid the death penalty.

Holmes' defense attorneys said last Wednesday that he was willing to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison in order to avoid death row.  But prosecutors rejected the offer and criticized the defense for what prosecutors called a "calculated" move for attention.

"The circumstances surrounding the filing of the Notice indicate that it was filed for the intended purpose of generating the predictable pretrial publicity," prosecutors wrote in their response to the defense's filing.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding at least 58 when gunfire erupted in an Aurora, Colo., theater last July during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

His trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 5.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio