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Another court-appointed psychiatrist takes witness stand in Colorado theatre shooting trial

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Another state-appointed psychiatrist who determined that Colorado theatre shooter James Holmes was sane at the time of the attack was testifying Monday at the death penalty trial.

Jeffrey Metzner examined Holmes after he killed 12 people and injured 70 more in a packed suburban Denver theatre, prosecutors said.

Metzner testified that he interviewed Holmes and wrote a 128-page report on his findings.

Metzner was the first doctor to examine Holmes after he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the July 2012 attack. Holmes’ attorneys say he suffers schizophrenia and couldn’t tell right from wrong during the attack.

Prosecutors are presenting evidence indicating Homes was sane at the time.

Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. later ordered a second evaluation, agreeing with prosecutors that Metzner’s examination was incomplete. The other court-appointed psychiatrist, William Reid, testified last week that he, too, found Holmes mentally ill but legally sane.

If jurors find in favour of Holmes, he would be committed indefinitely to a state mental hospital. Prosecutors want them to convict Holmes and sentence him to death.

Holmes told Metzner and Reid that he still had homicidal urges more than a year after the shootings.

In a hearing before Metzner took the stand, Samour agreed with defence attorneys that jurors should not hear about Holmes’ “continuing, chronic, homicidal thoughts” because it might improperly influence their judgment.

Samour noted, however, that the statements could come up during Holmes’ sentencing phase.

Reid previously testified that Holmes still believes that killing people will increase his self-worth.