Psychiatric evaluations next for movie shooter accused

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A judge has accepted alleged Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes' plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered him moved to a state mental health facility for evaluation.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. also determined Tuesday prosecutors will have access to a notebook Holmes sent his psychiatrist hours before last July' s shooting spree, which killed 12 and wounded 58 at the midnight premiere showing of a Batman movie in suburban Denver.

Holmes appeared in a packed courtroom Tuesday in chains and a maroon jumpsuit and sporting a bushy, unkempt beard. Atypically, his front bangs were slicked back over his forehead.

Holmes seemed more alert than in past appearances, and answered "no" in a clear voice when asked by Samour if he had any questions concerning the plea.

"I find Mr. Holmes understands the effects and consequences of the not guilty by reason of insanity plea," the judge said.

Holmes will be moved as soon as possible from the Arapahoe County Jail to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo where a series of psychological examinations must be completed by Aug. 2. Tests may include truth serum and polygraph tests, according to prosecutors.

The judge's ruling came about a month after Holmes' attorneys asked to change his plea from a standard not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.

By accepting Holmes' plea, the judge gave Holmes, who faces 166 counts of murder and attempted murder, the opportunity to escape the death penalty.

Lawyers argued briefly in court about whether prosecutors should have access to the notebook Holmes, 25, sent to his University of Colorado (CU) psychiatrist Lynne Fenton. Fox News reported last year the notebook contained stick-figured drawings depicting violence. The notebook has been protected from disclosure by doctor-client protection laws.

"I conclude that (the privilege) has been waived by the not guilty by insanity plea," Samour said, ordering Holmes' defense team to deliver the controversial notebook to the prosecution by Monday, June 10.

During the past month, Holmes' lawyers delayed entering an insanity plea and argued state insanity defense laws were unconstitutional. Judge Samour rejected that argument last week.

This week, the court received 89 motions from Holmes' defense team, including a change of venue request that would move the trial to another location in the state to improve chances of empannelling an impartial jury. The judge will consider these motions in the next few weeks.

"There's no place in the state where this case isn't already known," pointed out Colorado Judicial Public Information Officer Rob McCallum. Endi

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