Judge Accepts New Plea for Accused Colorado Shooter - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Judge Accepts New Plea for Accused Colorado Shooter

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. - A judge has accepted the new plea from the man accused in the Colorado movie theatre shooting. 

James Holmes has changed his plea of "not guilty" to "not guilty by reason of insanity."  

Tuesday's decision sets the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation of Holmes, which could take months. He's accused of fatally shooting 12 people and injuring 70 in a packed Aurora movie theater in July.

Holmes faces 166 counts of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. 

Holmes' lawyers have repeatedly said he is mentally ill, but they delayed the insanity plea while arguing that state laws were unconstitutional. They said the laws could hobble the defense if Holmes' case should ever reach the phase where the jury decides if he should be executed.  

The judge rejected that argument last week.