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Judge rules theater massacre suspect James Holmes can be drugged for psychiatric exam

James Eagan Holmes is scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday in the July shootings at a Colorado movie theater. NBC's Leanne Gregg reports.

The man charged with killing 12 people in a crowded Colorado movie theater last year must waive all medical confidentiality and agree to be drugged for a psychiatric exam if he wants to plead guilty by reason of insanity, a judge ruled Monday.

Circuit Judge William Sylvester confirmed in the order that Holmes, 25, had asked to enter an insanity plea to 166 felony counts of murder, attempted murder and other felonies in the shootings July 20 at a theater in Aurora showing the premiere of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises."


Holmes' lawyers had raised several objections to the state's law governing insanity pleas. Among them were complaints that fully waiving their client's medical confidentiality and that administering drugs to assist in any court-ordered examination violated his constitutional rights.

Sylvester rejected those claims on Friday.

Holmes is scheduled to be arraigned in 18th Circuit Court in Arapahoe County on Tuesday. 


If Holmes goes through with an insanity defense, Sylvester said, he will immediately have to turn over the names, addresses and medical reports of any doctor or psychologist who has ever treated him for a psychiatric condition. 

He will also immediately be committed for a state examination, during which doctors will be allowed to administer "such drugs as are medically appropriate" to ensure his lucidity, Sylvester ordered.

More: Read the full order (.pdf)

Defense documents made public Friday revealed for the first time that Holmes was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward in November for "several days, frequently in restraints."

In the the documents, Holmes' lawyers asked Sylvester to order Denver Health Medical Center, where Holmes was taken from the Arapahoe County jail by ambulance Nov. 15, to preserve video it made of his treatment and observation.

Sylvester didn't rule on that motion Monday.

Prosecutors still haven't said whether they intend to seek the death penalty for Holmes. They have two months following next week's arraignment to declare their intentions.

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