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April 1, 2013 at 12:44 PM   |   Comments

DA seeks death penalty in theater massacre

CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 1 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said Monday they'll seek the death penalty for James Holmes, accused of opening fire and killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater last year.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said his office consulted with numerous victims before deciding to seek the death penalty for Holmes, who appeared to have no reaction to the announcement, The Denver Post reported.

"For James Eagen Holmes, justice is death," Brauchler said.

Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other offenses in the July 20, 2012, theater massacre in Aurora. Fifty-eight other people were wounded.

He is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 5.

Last week his attorneys disclosed in a court filing Holmes offered to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Prosecutors said Holmes failed to meet their requirements for a deal.

In their filing, Holmes' attorneys said they may pursue a mental-health defense and file numerous pre-trial motions if the case goes to trial, the Post reported.


Judge to ask Perry for interim prosecutor

KAUFMAN, Texas, April 1 (UPI) -- Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said he will ask Texas Gov. Rick Perry to name an interim prosecutor following the slaying of District Attorney Mike McLelland.

Even though investigators haven't found any physical evidence linking the Saturday deaths of McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, with the Jan. 31 slaying of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was shot and killed in a parking lot, Wood said Monday he believed the two incidents were related, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"There has to be a connection, in my way of thinking," Wood said.

Security was enhanced at the Kaufman County Courthouse and the district attorney's office was closed Monday as authorities searched for suspects.

Sheriff David Byrnes said he won't link the deaths of the McLellands to Hasse's slaying, the Star-Telegram reported Sunday.

Deputies were called to the district attorney's home Saturday evening by a law enforcement friend who had stopped by to check on them, WFAA-TV, Dallas, said. Investigators told reporters the front door was open and the McLellands were found shot with what is believed to be an assault rifle.


36 bodies found in Tibet slide; 47 missing

LHASA, Tibet, April 1 (UPI) -- The death toll from a massive landslide in Tibet rose to 36 Monday and it was unlikely survivors would be found among 47 people still missing, officials said.

More than 4,500 rescuers were at the site in a gold mining area where the slide overwhelmed a Jiama Copper Polymetallic Mine worker's camp near the Tibetan capital of Lhasa Friday, burying 83 workers, Xinhua reported.

Officials at rescue headquarters said it was unlikely any survivor would be found, China Daily reported.

About 2 million cubic meters (2.6 million cubic yards) of debris and mud from a mountain fell on the site in Zhaxigang village, authorities said. The thickness of the debris is about 30 meters (about 98 feet), rescuers said.

"It's very difficult to find the trapped people because the volume of dirt and stones is too big," one safety official told China Daily. "The power of the landslide was so great."


Gunmen destroy NATO trucks; 1 person hurt

QUETTA, Pakistan, April 1 (UPI) -- Five NATO trucks carrying equipment out of Afghanistan were destroyed in a fiery attack in Pakistan Monday but only one injury was reported, officials said.

Four gunmen on motorbikes fired on the trucks as they traveled through southwest Pakistan, then poured gasoline on the vehicles and set them on fire, senior government official Iftikhar Bugti said.

One driver was slightly injured, Geo News reported.

The convoy was attacked in the Bolan district of Balochistan province, about 75 miles southeast of the provincial capital of Quetta.

Equipment is being removed from Afghanistan as coalition forces wind down combat operations in the country.

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