Denver alt-weekly Westword posts, "Read parents' letter asking DA to stop trying to kill their son's killer," by Alan Prendergast.
It was eleven years ago today -- October 18, 2002 -- that inmate Edward Montour Jr. attacked Eric Autobee, a 23-year-old correctional officer, in the kitchen of the Limon prison, fatally bludgeoning him with a heavy ladle. To mark that grim anniversary, the victim's parents have made a startling plea to the prosecution to resolve the still-open case -- a plea that insists the best way to serve justice and honor their son's memory would be by dropping the state's relentless but much-misfired attempts to obtain the death penalty against Montour.
"It is our understanding that Mr. Montour will likely accept a plea to be imprisoned for the rest of his life in a maximum security unit without the possibility of a parole," Bob and Lola Autobee state in their letter to Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler. "In the meantime, our family sits without any resolution or finality, suffering so that our son's image and identity can continue to be used by you, not because you love our son like we do, but because you have greater political ambitions to obtain a death penalty verdict."
Montour, who has a long history of mental health issues, was already serving a life sentence for killing his eleven-week-old daughter when he attacked Autobee without warning; it was the first inmate killing of an officer in the Colorado Department of Corrections in 73 years. Montour pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, but the Colorado Supreme Court threw out his death sentence in 2007 because it hadn't been imposed by a jury. Prosecutors have been seeking to get the death penalty reinstated in his case ever since. As reported here last year, the drawn-out legal wrangle alienated Autobee's parents; Bob Autobee, a retired correctional officer himself, denounced the interminable costs and delays involved and came out publicly against the death penalty as it is applied in Colorado, saying it wouldn't fix the violence problems in the prison system. Earlier this year, after prosecutors refused to accept a deal in which Montour would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, he was allowed to withdraw his prior guilty plea.
The Autobees letter to District Attorney George Brauchler is available at Scribd.
Earlier coverage of the Autobees call to drop the death penalty prosecution begins at the link.
Brauchler is also pursuing the death penalty against James Holmes, and has talked of challenging Colorado Govenor John Hickenlooper because of the reprieve Hickenlooper issued in another Colorado death penalty case.
Also available, more recent coverage from Colorado.