It would bring prompt closure for survivors and family members of the dead and wounded.
It would cut years, perhaps decades, from an expensive appeals process. And it would eliminate the issue of the uneven application of the death penalty in Colorado.
We hope George Brauchler, the top prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District, takes the deal although early indications are that his office may be hostile to it.
The matter will come into sharper focus during a court hearing Monday, during which prosecutors are expected to announce whether they'll seek the death penalty against Holmes, accused of killing 12 and injuring 58 during a shooting rampage in July at an Aurora movie theater.
The only card Holmes' lawyers have to play is an insanity plea, which they've indicated they'll pursue if their offer is rejected.
Make no mistake. It's a potent card because Colorado law puts prosecutors in the position of proving that Holmes was sane.
That's not to say prosecutors should have a difficult time in making the overall case against Holmes. This crime, while shocking and tragic, hasn't exactly been a whodunit. But we would hope they would see the merit of choosing a path to justice that does not end in execution.
Admittedly, there is less pressure to avoid a death penalty since the legislature just voted down a bill that would have outlawed it in the future. We supported that measure and were sorry to see its demise. Nevertheless, all of the reasons it would have been good policy remain.
Those reasons include the uneven way the death penalty is applied in Colorado. For instance, just last week in Denver, Edward Romero was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and dismemberment of a 16-year-old girl. That could have been a death penalty case, but prosecutors chose not to seek it. We suspect it would be tough to get a death sentence out of a Denver jury, which underscores the conflicted feelings we have as a society about the death penalty.
We hope 18th Judicial District prosecutors take these factors into account and agree to a deal that promptly resolves this case and ensures Holmes stays in prison for the rest of his days.
The Denver Post, March 29