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DA hire may indicate death penalty in Holmes case

11:04 PM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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ARAPAHOE COUNTY - When District Attorney George Brauchler announced his hiring of one of the most renowned death penalty prosecutors in the state this week, he likely also indirectly announced his desire for seeking the death penalty against accused theater shooter James Holmes according to 9News Legal Analyst Scott Robinson.

"You don't hire a death penalty expert unless you're going for the death penalty," Robinson said. "This addition to the prosecution team seemingly signals a decision to seek the death penalty against [James] Holmes."

On Wednesday, newly-elected 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler announced the hiring of Dan Zook, a prosecutor from Colorado Springs who has personally overseen four death penalty cases.

"Dan is the most experienced death penalty prosecutor in the state of Colorado and a national expert on these cases," read a press release from his office.

A decision on whether to seek the death penalty in the Holmes case is still likely months away.

Prosecutors have 9 weeks from the date of arraignment on deciding on whether to pursue the death penalty, and the arraignment date is currently set for the middle of March.

There are currently three people on Colorado's death row. Nathan Dunlap has been on it since 1996. It's so infrequently used in this state, that this year the state legislature is likely to debate a proposal to abolish it altogether.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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