April 20, 2013 in Nation/World

Prosecutors cite reasons for death penalty

Dan Elliott Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Aurora, Colo., theater shooting suspect James Holmes sits in court during his arraignment March 12.
(Full-size photo)

DENVER – Prosecutors in the deadly Colorado theater shootings said Friday that if suspect James Holmes is convicted, they will argue he should be executed because one of the victims was a child and because the attack was an ambush.

Prosecutors filed a court document listing aggravating factors they plan to raise in a possible death penalty phase of the trial.

Holmes is charged with more than 160 counts, including murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors say he spent months buying guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, donned police-style body armor and opened fire in a crowded Aurora theater during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie July 20. Twelve people were killed and 70 injured.

One of the aggravating factors prosecutors listed Friday is the death of 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the youngest of dead. Another says the slayings were “especially heinous, cruel or depraved.”

The other factors suggest Holmes acted with malice and “extreme indifference to the value of human life” and accuse him of knowingly putting other people at risk.

Prosecutors said they could add to the list. They also said they might ask to use audio and video recordings of Holmes with other people in the Arapahoe County jail as evidence.

Also Friday, defense lawyers suggested again that they might challenge the constitutionality of state laws on the death penalty and insanity pleas.

Holmes was widely expected to enter an insanity plea but so far has not.

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