Read parents' letter asking DA to stop trying to kill their son's killer

Edward Montour Jr.
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."

eric autobee.jpg
Eric Autobee.
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. A firm trial date in the decade-old homicide has yet to be set, and the Autobees fear that a capital verdict "will unnecessarily tie up the courts in appeals for another 10, 15, 20 years at everyone's emotional and financial expense."

The Autobees now say they have forgiven Montour for his crime, saying their son would have wanted it that way: "It has taken time to get to this place of forgiveness, and we are thankful for it. If he had been executed, we would never have been able to live with ourselves."

Mary Ricard.
The couple say their position is not simply an expression of moral conviction that the death penalty is wrong but disgust with the way the state has responded to their son's death, the 2012 slaying of DOC employee Mary Ricard by an inmate at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, and the murder of DOC director Tom Clements earlier this year by a recently paroled inmate, Evan Ebel: "The solution is to commit resources and energy spent in pursuing the death penalty to assisting the government in managing the mental health needs of the inmates, and at the same time, managing the safety of the prisons."

Brauchler's office did not respond to a request for comment on the Autobees' letter. Here's the full text.

Autobee Open Letter to George Brauchler

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa April: "Edward Montour guilty plea ruling: David Lane on death penalty, James Holmes, 'bloody 18th.'"

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Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

No one was even talking about Obama or anything to do with The President, Daniel. You take every opportunity to bash him, even when it makes no sense whatsoever and is completely off topic.


Death is NOT a Penalty.

Death ENDS Suffering.


It is a shame when a man's political ambitions supercede the wishes of a family.

I am NOT religious, so none of those articles NOR opinions do I care about nor will respond to.

However, what I do care about is what MURDERING (because that is exactly what it is if we take away the sugar-coating) our own citizens says to the rest of the developed Western nations about us as a country, and us as a people. We are, after all, the ONLY developed Western nation that executes its own citizens-alas, the utterly brilliant superiority of good ol'merika... (?!!)

I find this a particular horrid and brutal form of a society metting "justice" - then again, Amerikans are known the world over for having a particular horrid and brutal violent streak in the make-up of our character, our societies, most definitely our foreign policies, and especially in how we treat each other, exemplified by how we commit murder at extremely alarmingly high is not out of the ordinary that a culture that THRIVES on violence would be clamoring for the blood of another (just look at most comments!) to satisfy their own need for revenge.

What is paramount is none of the commentators have given this family any ounce of empathy or compassion towards THEIR wishes and how the murder and subsequent prosecution has affected their lives...the very blood y'all scream for (very much like the decadent audiences of the Roman coliseums screaming for MORE deaths, more bloodshed, lol) has no connection to your lives.

Yet it is destroying the ability for these lives, the family of this young man who WERE connected-very intimately-to move on, to have any sort of closure...insuring if a death penalty is made of this case, this family will, again, be re-victimized and re-victimized, over and over again...for the next 2 decades at least! That is NOT JUSTICE...who, in their right mind with half a brain cell, would see this long drawn out court battle, back and forth, month after month, until year after year, until those years turn into decades-WHO are YOU in Amerika that sees this as JUST, who sees this as FAIR?! To have your heart & soul continuously ripped open, to have to relive that horrible tragedy court date after court date with no END in SIGHT!!

Who ARE you wretched humans that feel putting families of murder victims through this sham justice for ANY persons political gain is fair OR righteous?!

No, no-all this is simply you people showing WHO you ARE....its not about "justice", is about Amerikans & an appetite for blood.

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Hey Candie Bernard - YOU STUPID LIB - WHY don't YOU TELL US HOW Clint Eastwood's ignorance is hysterical, too !!!


Again, I hope the parents reconsider.

Christianity: Pro Death Penalty
Dudley Sharp

There are 2000 years of strong Catholic/Christian support for the death penalty, with a record from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians that, in breadth and depth, is far stronger than any teachings to the contrary.

The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

Jesus and the Death Penalty

The Catechism and the Death Penalty

"All interpretations, contrary to the biblical support of capital punishment, are false. Interpreters ought to listen to the Bible’s own agenda, rather than to squeeze from it implications for their own agenda. As the ancient rabbis taught, “Do not seek to be more righteous than your Creator.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33.). Part of Synopsis of Professor Lloyd R. Bailey’s book Capital Punishment: What the Bible Says, Abingdon Press, 1987.

Saint (& Pope) Pius V, "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).

Pope Pius XII: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52.

"Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars"

Christianity and the death penalty.

Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty,

The Woman Caught in Adultery, the Death Penalty & John 8:2-11

Is There a Biblical Requirement for Two Eyewitnesses for Criminal Prosecution?

Pro Life: The Death Penalty

Forgiveness and Murder

"Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents"

"The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge"

"The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation"

Is Execution Closure? Of Course.

Sister Helen Prejean: A Critical Review

A Refutation of the ELCA Social Statement on the Death Penalty

  ======   Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims


I am very sorry for the murder of their son.

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

Daniel J. King is an internet troll who loves to thrown out his Obama hate speeches on every post he can find. His ignorance is hysterical.

Shayne Barrett
Shayne Barrett

i understand their thoughts on this, but even if he received the death penalty, he would still outlive them before it was carried out.


Yeah...what is so UP with these people????!!! You would think they get tired of spouting off utter absolute nonsense after awhile or find something meaningful to engross themselves with...but noooo! The ignorance they spout just to take a jab at Obama is so whack-a-doodle, right!

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