Washington: A judge in Colorado, US has entered a `not guilty` plea on behalf of James Holmes, who allegedly killed 12 people during the screening of `The Dark Knight Rises` at a movie hall last year.
The move came after Holmes`s lawyer told a hearing that his client was not yet ready to enter a plea.
If Holmes is convicted, he could be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison, the People reports.
Judge William Sylvester said Holmes, 25, can change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity later, if he chooses.
Such a change could be the only way Holmes could avoid life in prison or execution, the report said.
Prosecutors, for their part, have not said yet whether they will pursue the death penalty, announcing that they will make their decision known on April 1, it added.
Holmes is charged with 166 counts, mostly murder and attempted murder, in the July 20 attack on moviegoers at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in the Denver suburb of Aurora.