Prosecutors in Colorado announced Monday that they will seek the death penalty against James Holmes, who killed 12 people and injured 58 others in an attack at a movie theater last July, the Denver Post reports.
District Attorney George Brauchler said he contacted over 800 survivors and family members of victims in making his decision, ultimately deciding that the only "justice is death." Prosecutors previously struck down a plea deal from the defense that would give Holmes, 25, life in prison without parole. Holmes showed no reaction as Brauchler recommended his sentence in a court hearing Monday.
Holmes faces 166 charges of murder and attempted murder in the July attack on a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Huffington Post reports. If sentenced, Holmes will join three others on Colorado's death row. The state has only executed one person since 1977, when the death penalty was reinstated.
Holmes' lawyers are expected to base their defense on their client's mental health at the time of the shooting, the New York Times reports. Holmes visited a school psychiatrist in the weeks leading to the shooting, so records from those visits and a notebook he sent to the psychiatrist the day before the attack are expected to be used as evidence. Although Holmes has not entered an insanity plea, his lawyers have called him "mentally ill."