CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Lawyers for accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes say he is willing to plead guilty in exchange for prosecutors not pursuing the death penalty against him.

The lawyers are seeking a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Holmes' lawyers wrote in a court filing Wednesday that they first made the offer prior to arraignment.

"Mr. Holmes is currently willing to resolve the case to bring the proceedings to a speedy and definite conclusion for all involved," the lawyers wrote in their motion.

They say in the filing that prosecutors have not accepted the offer.

Prosecutors are understood to be discussing with victims and their families to get their opinion on the death penalty.

Holmes' attorneys say the case could be resolved on April 1, the date of the next hearing in the case. That is the day prosecutors have previously said they will announce if they will seek the death penalty.

"It appears the only impediment to a resolution of this case would be if the prosecution chooses to seek the death penalty," Holmes' lawyers said in their motion.

His attorneys say they still are researching a mental health defense should prosecutors reject the plea offer. In their motion, they say they "will vigorously present and argue any and all appropriate defenses at a trial or sentencing proceeding."

The trial of Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding at least 58 others with gun fire in a darkened Aurora theater last July, is scheduled to begin Aug. 5. Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other offenses.

In their motion, Holmes attorneys say that if the plea is rejected, the date "would obviously be vacated" so they can argue pre-trial motions.

The filing Wednesday adds new details about the dilemma the defense team said it had about how to best represent Holmes. They had previously said they planned an insanity defense. But then during the March 12 arraignment, when they were to enter a plea, they said they were not prepared.

Judge William Sylvester entered a not-guilty plea on Holmes' behalf, with the understanding that defense lawyers could ask to change the plea in the future.

After that hearing, shooting survivor Marcus Weaver said he thought most victims want the death penalty sought against Holmes. But Weaver said he thought Holmes should be given life in prison if he pleads guilty.

"To be honest," Weaver said, "I saw a human being today. And you can plead guilty and own up to it. Or you can plead not guilty and face serious consequences."

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, jingold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/john_ingold