(FOXNEWS) — After a week of legal twists and turns, James Holmes learned Monday that he will face execution if convicted in the Colorado theater attack that killed 12 people.

George Brauchler, a prosecutor in the case, told the court that his office decided on seeking the death penalty after consulting 800 victims and family members. He said he spoke to 60 victims himself.

Behind-the-scenes maneuvering erupted into a public quarrel between prosecutors and the defense over Holmes’ public offer to plead guilty, but the two sides could still come to an agreement that would spare Holmes’s life in exchange for spending the rest of his life in prison.

“Even if they give notice on Monday that they are seeking the death penalty, they can come off that and enter into a plea bargain any time,” said attorney Dan Recht, a past president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

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