"'The Death Penalty is a Hate Crime': Bob Autobee Speaks Out to Spare Life of Son’s Killer," is the segment of today's Democracy Now. There is video at the link; a transcript will be available later today. Here's the introduction:
We are joined by Bob Autobee, a Colorado resident who is opposing the death penalty for the prisoner who killed his son Eric, a prison guard, in 2002. During the original trial, Autobee supported a death sentence for Edward Montour. But the Colorado Supreme Court threw out Montour’s sentence in 2007 because it was imposed by a judge, not a jury as is required.
A decade later, Autobee has now changed his mind. In the new murder trial that begins today, he wants to make a victim’s statement to the jury asking them not to impose the death penalty — but the judge in the case has barred him from doing so. Autobee describes why he opposes the death penalty in this case, and why he wants to see it abolished overall.
"You’ve got to be willing to heal, and you’ve got to let the hate go," Autobee says. "To me the death penalty is a hate crime, a crime against humanity." We are also joined by Democracy Now! producer and criminal justice correspondent Renée Feltz, who notes that 80 percent of Colorado voters actually passed a constitutional amendment in 1992 that enshrines the rights of victims to make a statement in cases like Autobee’s.
Today's Denver Post reports, "Opening arguments to begin in death penalty case against Montour," by Jordan Steffen.
Edward Montour spent four years on death row for attacking corrections officer Eric Autobee from behind and beating him to death with a soup ladle in a prison kitchen.
Now — nearly 11 years after he originally pleaded guilty — a Douglas County District Court jury must decide whether Montour was sane when he killed Autobee in 2002.
Much like the death penalty case against James Holmes, the gunman who killed 12 people and injured dozens more at an Aurora movie theater in July 2012, the focus of the trial against Montour will not center on guilt. Montour, like Holmes, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his attorneys have repeatedly stated in court that Montour's attack on Autobee was unprovoked and undeserved.
Instead, Montour's trial will probably revolve around events and circumstances that took place more than a dozen years ago.
Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning. A jury and six alternatives were selected Monday.
Earlier coverage of this Colorado case begins at the link.