Death conclusion changed in murder case

DOUGLAS COUNTY - Shortly before the start of testimony Tuesday in a trial that could send an inmate to Colorado's death row, attorneys for Edward Montour lobbed what they hope will be a bombshell in the case.

In a court filing made public Tuesday afternoon, Edward Montour's attorneys argue Montour - on trial for killing a Colorado corrections officer in 2002 - was wrongly convicted of murdering his 11-week-old daughter Taylor Montour in 1998.

"He should have never been in the Colorado Department of Corrections in 2002 when Eric Autobee was killed," read the motion. They point to the very recent decision by the El Paso County Coroner's Office to change the cause of Taylor's 1998 death from "homicide" to "undetermined" as one of the reasons for arriving at that conclusion.

Montour has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2002 death of Eric Autobee inside the Limon Correctional Facility. Opening statements in the much-delayed trial are set to begin early next month.
Jury selection in the high-profile case has already stretched into a second month.

The case has already drawn increased scrutiny because Eric Autobee's father has vocally and publicly criticized prosecutors for seeking the death penalty in the case. Bob Autobee says he has forgiven Montour for killing his son.

Tuesday's revelation that the coroner's report has now been modified does little immediately to change Montour's conviction for murdering his daughter in 1998, but the former prosecutor told 9Wants to Know he relied "almost exclusively" on medical reports that have now come into question.

Montour's defense believes Taylor Montour died not as a result of abuse, but due to brittle-bone disease. "Today, there are four pathologists from the largest jurisdictions in the state," read Tuesday's motion, "who all agree the cause of death is undetermined."

Prosecutors in Colorado's 18th Judicial District - which includes the location of the 2002 prison murder - did not immediately have a response to the veracity of the claims, but reached by phone District Attorney George Brauchler told Chris Vanderveen, "We need to assess this as well as the 17-newly endorsed experts by the defense which we received in the middle of jury selection."

"I need to have time to assess it and review it," Brauchler said.


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