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Victim's dad fights death penalty case as jury selection starts Read more: Victim's dad fights death penalty case as jury selection starts

By Jordan Steffen
The Denver Post

 

More than a decade after a convicted killer beat his son to death, Bob Autobee is asking prosecutors not to seek the death penalty against the man he has forgiven.

Jury selection begins on Monday in the case against Edward Montour, who was serving a life sentence for killing his infant daughter when he beat corrections officer Eric Autobee to death in the kitchen at Limon Correctional Facility in 2002.

Montour, 46, pleaded guilty to killing Autobee in 2003 and a judge sentenced him to death. The case tumbled through various courts for more than a decade until a Douglas County District Court judge allowed Montour to withdraw his original plea, sending the case back to trial.

In April, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler announced he would seek the death penalty against Montour. In August, Montour entered a new plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

On Monday, the trial — which is scheduled to take four months — will begin at the Douglas County Courthouse, where Bob Autobee will protest Brauchler's decision to move forward with the death penalty.

"I don't want my son's name attached to this lynch mob," Autobee told The Denver Post.

Autobee said that during a meeting with Brauchler last year, he told the district attorney he would fight his decision.

Brauchler declined to comment, citing the ongoing case. But in a statement he released after he announced his decision in April, Brauchler said in addition to the family's wishes, he must also consider the safety of corrections officers.

Autobee's protest will likely be seen by some of the potential jurors arriving at the courthouse Monday morning. A total of 3,500 summonses were sent out for the case, and jury selection is expected to take as long as two months.

"This is not out of revenge, or out of hate or out of anything that is evil," Autobee said. "This is about nothing but good. I am not doing it to get back at Mr. Brauchler, although I am deeply disappointed with the state."

Autobee said his frustrations go beyond Montour's trial and extend to the Colorado Department of Corrections and policies that left his son vulnerable in the kitchen with Montour. He also said the legislature has repeatedly failed to address the death penalty and instead uses his son as an example to continue the practice.

"The whole state is in a calamity," Autobee said. "I don't know if that's the word for it — I don't know what you would call incompetence and apathy at the same time."

Roger Hudson, spokesman for the Corrections Department, said the department is also eager for a final resolution in the case.



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Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015