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Video: Bob Autobee forgives Edward Montour for son's murder as death-penalty trial begins

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Edward Montour Jr.
With only one execution logged in the past 45 years, Colorado's death penalty is practically on life support itself -- and about to be severely tested by three high-profile cases in coming months. Yet the man who might, in effect, pull the plug on the practice in our state isn't some steely eyed nun or bleeding-heart governor, but an unlikely convert to the cause: Bob Autobee, the father of a corrections officer bludgeoned to death by an inmate in 2002.

Over more than a decade since then, Bob Autobee has experienced firsthand the interminable delays and ordeals of a capital case.

Already serving a life sentence for killing his infant daughter, Edward Montour Jr. attacked 23-year-old Eric Autobee at the Limon Correctional Facility with a heavy ladle he'd obtained from the prison kitchen. It was the first inmate killing of an officer in the DOC 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. Last year, defense attorneys managed to get his guilty plea thrown out as well, contending that he hadn't been mentally competent to represent himself and received ineffective counsel, setting up a four-month retrial (and attempt to reinstate the death penalty) in Douglas County that starts with jury selection today.

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Eric Autobee.
I've written before about the senior Autobee, a retired Department of Corrections employee himself, and his growing frustration with the missteps and delays in the case, which prompted him to "drop out" of Montour's prosecution in 2012 and subsequently forgive his son's killer and denounce the attempt to execute Montour as a costly and "colossal mistake."

In recent weeks, Autobee has stepped up his campaign, releasing a video excerpt of an unusual "restorative justice" meeting between the victim's father and Montour, showing Montour apologizing for the killing and Autobee offering forgiveness. He's also announced his intention to protest at the courthouse during the four-month trial.

Since Montour, who has a long history of mental health problems, had offered to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence in solitary confinement, Autobee has contended that the money "wasted" on a death-penalty prosecution could be better spend on improving security measures for prison staff.

But for Eighteen Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler -- who vowed to reserve the death penalty for only the most heinous cases when he ran for office in 2012 -- the long-simmering Montour prosecution is a kind of tune-up for what promises to be an even more convoluted, drawn-out capital case, riddled with mental-illness claims: the James Holmes trial. Brauchler's office has been relatively tight-lipped in response to the broadsides from the Autobee family, asserting blandly that justice must be served.

But can prosecutors obtain the ultimate penalty in a case where the outrage of the victim's family is directed at the system, not the killer? Check out the video, below.

More from our Prison Life archive circa February 2013: "Edward Montour case: Was inmate a 'volunteer' for the death penalty?"


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16 comments
dudleysharp
dudleysharp

Bob Autobee just gets more odd.
 
He says "(District Attorney) G. Brauchler, Killing Montour will not fix the mess we call the Colorado DOC, but the money you save by not killing him could help other officers and inmates from being killed."
 
The purpose of seeking death, as with all sanctions, is justice, with the major additional effect that Montour would not be able to harm, again, a pretty big deal, as giving Montour a prior life sentence, obviously allowed him to murder, again - Bob's 23 year old son Eric, a prison employee.  My condolences.
 
Montour tortured/murdered his 11 month old daughter, Tyler, by breaking nearly every bone in her body. He received a life sentence for that.
 
While serving that sentence, Montour murdered Eric, just to gain more cred with his fellow prisoners.
 
Bob was, orginally, for the death penalty for his son's murder, but changed positions after being frustrated with the irresponsible death penalty system in Co. All Bob is, now, doing is giving into those irresponsible forces, primarily the judges, that make the death penalty system so pathetic in Co. Montour's original death sentence, for the murder of Eric, was overturned.
 
Odd that Bob is only protesting Brauchler, who is seeking justice and more protection for prison employees, while Bob is seeking a life sentence for Montour, the same sentence he had when he murdered Eric, making Eric's murder a freebie and, of course, putting more prison guards, as all others, at risk from Montour, again.
 
Montour has also wanted his own wife to be murdered, which he also planned from prison.
 
The trial judge stated that he had no doubts that Montour was capable of murdering, again. You think?
 
If Montour had true remorse, he would have accepted his death sentence, waived appeals, as legally possible, and accepted his own execution.
 
Instead, Montour is fighting for no additional sanctions, showing us the level of his remorse.


contd

dudleysharp
dudleysharp

Montour tortured/murdered his 11 month old daughter, Tyler, by breaking nearly every bone in her body.


He is serving a life sentence for that murder. So, another life sentence for murdering Eric Autobee, is just a freebie murder.


The trial judge said that he had no doubt that Montour was capable of murdering, again.


You think?

Natasha Schwertley
Natasha Schwertley

Yes. Killing him won't undo what he did. It's not justice, it's revenge. We join the rest of the civilized world.

James Gold
James Gold

When the courts claim to care oh so much about the victims and their families, then they should probably keep up that charade and listen to the fucking families when they speak.

Jeri Shepherd
Jeri Shepherd

The death penalty should be abolished...prayers sent to the Autobee family.

Beau Scott
Beau Scott

The courts do need to listen. It would be utter disrespect of the family to whom has sentenced the man to life of guilt by forgiving him.

Brendan Flynn
Brendan Flynn

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.~Ghandi.

Dan Andrade
Dan Andrade

Why should they stop? He's on death row, it takes years to get sentenced anyhow.

J.p. Gonzales
J.p. Gonzales

If memory serves me correctly I believe he first went to prison for killing a baby. Kill him.

dudleysharp
dudleysharp

contd



Bob never mentioned that Eric would be against the death penalty, until after his anti death penalty activism began.
 
Bob's main theme has been the cost and inefficiency of the death penalty
 
If Bob's protest is the death penalty system, which he says it is, why isn't he protesting that and asking for reform?
 
Odd indeed.
 
Those problems are not the death penalty's fault, but the fault of the case administrators, the judges.
 
For example, Virginia executes within 7.1 years, on average, after sentencing and has executed 70% of their death row inmates (110 murderers), since 1976.   Obviously, Co can have both a more efficient death penalty and also provide better management at DOC.
 
Bob Autobee, as everyone else, knows it.

dudleysharp
dudleysharp

The death penalty is supported for the same reason all sanctions are: Justice.


It has nothing to do with revenge.



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