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Murder victims' families decry death penalty

On Monday, the Colorado Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that would repeal the death penalty.

DENVER — With the Senate scheduled to vote on Monday, those who want to end the death penalty in Colorado put together a list of speakers Thursday afternoon who never wanted to speak.

"My name is Linda Burks-Brown and my brother Willie was murdered by his stepson," Burks-Brown said.

She is one of 27 family members of murder victims from around Colorado who signed a letter to repeal the death penalty.

"My name is Alice Randolph. My son was only 20 when he was murdered in Aurora," Randolph said.

Their stories of tragedy are different, but their message is the same. The death penalty and its process takes too much of a toll on the victims' families.

Robert Autobee's son, Sgt. Eric Autobee, was working as a prison guard when he was killed by an inmate in 2002. The murderer was initially sentenced to death.

"I cried every day for 10 years and then I got the call that we're starting back to square one with my son's murder trial," Robert Autobee said. "Ten years I listened to the way my son was murdered."

During a retrial, Edward Montour pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence versus the death penalty in Autobee's case.

"I would never want to subject any family to the decades of waiting that comes with capital rules," Burks-Brown said.

On Monday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the proposal to repeal the death penalty. Opponents to the bill believe this issue should be decided by the voters. Others say it still works as a deterrence to violence even if the death penalty has been used only once in Colorado since 1976.

Randolph says she is thankful that her son's murder was not a death penalty case.

"By not having the death penalty, we have been able to focus on our healing and rebuilding our lives," Randolph said. 

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