With a mere stroke of his pen and much to the dismay of some, Gov. Jared Polis wiped away three separate, unanimous jury verdicts for some of the worst murderers in Colorado state history. Gov. Polis signed SB20-100, repealing the death penalty in Colorado going forward. The Governor also commuted the sentences of the three men on death row in Colorado to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“While I understand that some victims agree with my decision and others disagree, I hope this decision provides clarity and certainty for them moving forward. The decision to commute these sentences was made to reflect what is now Colorado law and done after a thorough outreach process to the victims and their families,” the Governor stated. However, many feel that Polis did this without following Colorado law, which states clearly that the governor must submit an application for commutation to the district attorney.
“This governor has never reached out to me or any member of the prosecution team, all of whom are still in the area, for any comments, consultation, or input of any kind before rescuing these heinous, cold-blooded murderers from their earned sentences. I learned about the news of these historic commutations on the largest cases in Colorado from a staffer in the governor’s office only hours before it was announced,” said District Attorney George Brauchler in a statement on Monday.
Gov. Polis also commuted the sentences of convicted killers Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray, who have never asked for commutation. That’s because their cases are still in the appeal process. Rather than wait for the legal process, Gov. Polis decided on his own, without any consultation or input from the district attorney office, to reduce their sentences forever to life in prison. With this added time, they will get to continue to challenge their guilty verdicts and seek a new trial. Some are concerned about the ramifications this could bring.
“There are a few in Colorado today who will cheer the sparing of the lives of these cold-blooded murderers. For the rest of Colorado, make no mistake: We will save no money. We are not safer. We are not a better people. And the only lives spared are those who commit the ultimate acts of evil against us.” warned DA George Brauchler.