KUSA - The father of a slain Colorado corrections officer calls the decision to keep the death penalty on the table in the criminal case "a colossal mistake."
Bob Autobee wrote a letter to the district attorney of the 18th Judicial District this week urging the chief prosecutor to reconsider the decision to continue to go for the death penalty in the case. His son, Eric Autobee, was murdered by Edward Montour, an inmate inside the Limon Correctional Facility 11 years ago Friday.
"I've been told an eye for an eye. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Montour could never compare with my son," said Bob Autobee from his home in Pueblo on Friday. "My son would rather be a poster child for life and love; not death and killing."
The legal saga against accused Montour has continued for years. It began in earnest in early 2003 when Montour, already serving a life sentence for killing his 11-month-old daughter, agreed to plead guilty to first degree murder in the Autobee case. Months later, a judge sentenced him to death.
However in 2007, the Colorado State Supreme Court ruled that only a jury could sentence a person to death. Earlier this year, a judge allowed Montour to withdraw his 2003 guilty plea, and a few months ago, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
District Attorney George Brauchler is currently in the midst of a high-profile, death penalty case against accused theater shooter James Holmes, and was not available to comment on the Autobee case. However, in April his office announced it planned on pursuing the death penalty against Montour once again.
His office also put 9NEWS in touch with Joshua Marquis, who for nearly the last two decades has been the district attorney in Clatsop County, Oregon. He is a national, pro-death penalty speaker.
"I believe the death penalty is appropriate in a number of cases involving essentially the worst of the worse," he said via Skype from his home on Friday. "The prosecutor has to take into account the wishes of the survivors but cannot let that dictate [a death penalty decision,] because it is not a private matter. It is not a lawsuit between the victim's family and the killer. It is between the state of Colorado and the killer."
Bob Autobee said he plans on doing everything possible to try to convince Brauchler to change his mind. He said his decision to oppose the death penalty, a decision he did not arrive at until years after the murder, is partially based upon religious beliefs.
"I believe in the Bible. I don't have much faith in the law. I have no faith in the courts," he said.
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