Democrats launch effort to repeal death penalty in Colorado

Effort won't affect those currently on death row
Posted at 7:59 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 21:58:59-05

DENVER -- Colorado lawmakers are getting ready to put the death penalty to rest once and for all.

Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, introduced a bill late Wednesday to repeal capital punishment. Her proposal, SB17-095, would repeal the death penalty for offenses on or after July 1, 2017.

"Nothing in this section commutes or alters the sentence of a defendant convicted of an offense committed before July 1, 2017," the bill reads.

Stacy Anderson, of Better Priorities Initiative of Colorado, the group spearheading the repeal effort, said money is the big reason behind it all.

"We're spending an enormous amount of money on the death penalty and victim's services are falling by the wayside," she said. "If we could provide money for all victims to have the services they need, that would be better justice for all Coloradans."

Anderson told Denver7 that fewer prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and that fewer juries are deciding to impose it.

"We had two really high profile cases, (Aurora Theater shootings and Fero's Bar and Grill stabbings) really awful murders, and jurors were not willing to give death penalty sentences in those cases," she said.

There are three men currently on death row.

  • Nathan Dunlap murdered four people during a robbery at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant in Aurora.
  • Sir Mario Owens shot and killed two people. One of them was a witness who was going to testify in another murder case. The other victim was the witnesses' fiancé.
  • Robert Ray ordered the killing of that witness.

Last Execution

Gary Davis was the last person executed in Colorado.

He was put to death in October of 1997 for the 1986 kidnapping, rape and murder of a Byer's area housewife.

He shot the victim 14 times.

Thirty-two states still have the death penalty. Eighteen states have repealed it.

Four states, including Colorado, have moratoriums on the death penalty. Their governors will not sign death warrants.


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