Today's Denver Post publishes the OpEd, "Montour juror: Death penalty is wrong," by Nate Becker. Here's the beginning:
I was one of the 18 jurors who were empaneled in the trial of Edward Montour in Douglas County District Court recently. Our job was to determine guilt and, if we found the defendant guilty, to then determine whether or not Montour should be sentenced to death.
Let me start by saying that I think the final outcome of this trial was just and right for both sides. But the games played to get there and the refusal by the district attorney's office to turn over evidence and to seek truth and justice in this case were objectionable.
The millions of taxpayer dollars spent seeking the death penalty instead of improving and updating corrections facilities, providing better law enforcement and corrections training, improving mental health treatment or trying to prevent violent crime are shameful. Having a death penalty does not prevent crime. It simply costs the people of Colorado millions of dollars and somehow gives us some false sense of security and justice.
"Edward Montour case: Juror blasts 'abhorrent' prosecution," is by Alan Prendergast in Last week's Westword.
The experience left at least one juror deeply frustrated over the waste of time and money devoted to the case -- and deploring the "shameful" behavior of the prosecution in doggedly seeking the death penalty.
This pursuit continued even after evidence surfaced that Montour had been wrongfully convicted for the crime that sent him to Limon in the first place.
Nate Becker, it should be noted, works on the financial side of a criminal defense law firm specializing in DUIs. But attorneys on both sides of the Montour case considered him impartial enough to serve as one of the twelve jurors (and six alternates) selected out of a pool of more than 2,100 candidates over the past two months. The panel was dismissed last Friday -- two days after hearing opening arguments in the case, and hours after the Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney's Office, led by George Brauchler, hammered out the deal with Montour's defense team.
In a letter to Westword, Becker describes what attorneys shared with him after the case was over.
You can read the entire letter at the link. It's a first-person must-read.
"Father's embrace of son's killer took years and lessons," is the Denver Post news report by Jordan Steffen.
Gripping a tiny container of his son's ashes in one hand, Bob Autobee stretched out toward Edward Montour with the other.
Montour smiled back as Autobee slowly waved and nodded with reassurance.
It was the kind of tender exchange familiar to old friends, brothers or a father and son — not a convicted killer and the father of the man he brutally beat to death.
The brief moment was a 10-year journey for Autobee, whose remarkable emotional trek led him out of crushing hate and to a place not only of forgiveness, but embrace.
Earlier coverage of the Montour case and the Autobee family begins at the link.