"Montour agrees to plead guilty after prosecutors drop death penalty demand," is by Jordan Steffen for the Denver Post.
Inmate Edward Montour has agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder in the beating death of a corrections officer in exchange for a sentence of life in prison, his attorney said Thursday.
Montour, 34, had faced the death penalty for killing officer Eric Autobee, 23, at the Limon Correctional Facility in 2002. He previously had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Defense attorney David Lane told The Denver Post early Thursday that prosecutors had offered — and Montour had accepted — the agreement to drop the death penalty in exchange for a guilty plea.
The deal will be finalized at a court hearing Thursday afternoon.
Opening arguments in Montour's trial began Wednesday in Douglas County District Court.
"Edward Montour to plead guilty, avoid death penalty," is the AP filing, via the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Montour was serving a life sentence in the 1997 death of his 11-month-old daughter when Autobee was killed.
His lawyers argue that Montour was wrongfully convicted of his daughter's death and say that affected his mental health.
The guard's father opposes the death penalty and has protested prosecutors' decision to seek it.
Westword posts, "Edward Montour death-penalty bid dropped in favor of life without possibility of parole," by Michael Roberts. These comments are from David Lane, the Denver lawyer who represented Edward Montour:
In the meantime, Lane's head is still spinning for the twists and turns of the case. According to him, "the human tragedy that flowed from Edward Montour accidentally dropping his baby in 1997 has had ripple effects that are beyond anyone's wildest imagination."
That includes the terrible death of Eric Autobee, who Montour killed in a prison kitchen using a heavy ladle. Nonetheless, Eric's loved ones have become some of the most vocal opponents to executing Montour. "From my perspective, the Autobee family's compassion, mercy and understanding transcended the prosecutor's desire for vengeance and death," Lane says.
The attorney is less forgiving when it comes to what he sees as a long and wasteful journey through the legal system.
"Years ago, Edward Montour offered to plead to exactly what he's going to be taking today," Lane points out. "And I would love to see a Colorado Open Records Act request to the DA's office, the Department of Corrections and alternate defense counsel to show the taxpayers of Colorado what a failed attempt to attain the death penalty actually costs. And that cost has been enormous."
His estimate? "Well over a million dollars," he says. "And that's just a wild guess. It could be more. I'm being very conservative."
Of course, the money is only a small part of this story.
"There has been so much tragedy here," Lane notes. "But there has also been so much humanity from the restorative justice process, which has so moved Edward Montour that he's pleading guilty to help the Autobees gain some peace. And there's been so much humanity from the Autobees in understanding they don't want to make Edward Montour's mother go through the pain they went through with the loss of their son.
Earlier coverage of the Colorado case begins at the link.