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      Judge accepts insanity plea in Colorado theater shooting case

      A judge has accepted James Holmes plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in the Colorado theater shootings.

      Tuesday's decision sets the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation of Holmes, who is accused of fatally shooting 12 people and injuring 70 in a packed Denver-area movie theater in July.

      The evaluation could take months. Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

      Holmes' lawyers repeatedly have 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.

      Judge Carlos Samour also ruled Tuesday that prosecutors can have access to a notebook Holmes sent to a psychiatrist before the rampage. He ordered the notebook to be turned over next week.

      Media reports have said the notebook contains drawings depicting violence. Defense lawyers argued psychiatrist Lynne Fenton never received the notebook so prosecutors shouldn't have access to it.

      Prosecutors say police would like to do unspecified "additional processing" on the notebook.