In the Nation

James Holmes in court Tuesday. The judge said Holmes could change the not-guilty plea later if he wanted.
James Holmes in court Tuesday. The judge said Holmes could change the not-guilty plea later if he wanted. (RJ SANGOSTI / Denver Post)
Posted: March 13, 2013

Judge enters Aurora plea

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The judge in the Colorado theater-shooting case entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of James Holmes on Tuesday after the former graduate student's defense team said he was not ready to enter one.

If convicted, Holmes could be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison. Judge William Sylvester said that Holmes, 25, can change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity later.

The judge set Aug. 5 for the start of the trial. As he has done in past hearings, Holmes sat silently through Tuesday's proceedings.

He is charged in an attack on moviegoers at a late showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, near Denver, that killed 12 and injured 70. - AP

L.A. Archdiocese will pay $10M

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will pay nearly $10 million to settle four cases alleging abuse by a now-defrocked priest who told Cardinal Roger Mahony nearly 30 years ago he had molested children, attorneys confirmed Tuesday.

The cases involving ex-priest Michael Baker span 26 years from 1974 to 2000. Two were set for trial next month.

Two claims named Mahony and alleged he did not do enough to stop Baker from abusing children, said plaintiff's attorney John Manly.

Mahony, who retired as archbishop in 2011 and is in Rome helping select the next pope, was aware of the settlement, said J. Michael Hennigan, an archdiocese attorney. - AP

Civil unions advance in Colo.

DENVER - A measure allowing civil unions for gay couples has cleared the Colorado legislature and is headed to the governor's desk, where it is expected to be signed.

The bill won final passage Tuesday on a 39-26 House vote, with two Republicans joining all Democrats to approve it.

Once the measure is signed, Colorado will join eight states that have civil unions or similar laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. - AP

Craigslist killer guilty in Ohio

AKRON, Ohio - A self-styled street preacher accused in a deadly plot to lure men with Craigslist job offers and then rob them was found guilty of aggravated murder Tuesday and could face the death penalty.

A jury in Akron returned the verdict against Richard Beasley, 53, charged with killing two men from Ohio and one from Norfolk, Va. A man from South Carolina was shot but survived. - AP

Elsewhere:

George Prescott Bush, 36, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, filed official paperwork Tuesday to run for Texas land commissioner next year.

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