Montour faced the death penalty again in a retrial, but Eric Autobee’s parents, Bob and Lola, who now oppose capital punishment, wanted to provide a victim impact statement to the jury urging them not to impose a death sentence.
“A lot of people think because I forgave him [Montour], I don’t want to hold him accountable or have him punished,” Bob Autobee stated. “That’s not true. People that do these things have to be punished, but death is not the answer.”
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler objected to the Autobees’ request to provide a victim impact statement, arguing that such statements could only be for punitive and not mitigating purposes. [See: PLN, March 2014, p.24].
Before murdering Eric Autobee, Montour was serving a life sentence for killing his 11-week-old daughter, Taylor, which he claimed was an accident when she fell and hit her head. On February 27, 2014, the El Paso County coroner’s office changed the cause of Taylor’s death from homicide to undetermined, and a group of experts retained by Montour’s defense counsel said her injuries were consistent with an accident.
Defense attorneys had intended to argue at trial that Montour’s mental illness became worse after he was wrongfully convicted of killing his daughter, culminating in his fatal attack on Eric Autobee in the kitchen at the Lima Correctional Facility.
However, on March 6, 2014, Montour pleaded guilty to murdering Autobee in exchange for a sentence of life without parole; he said he owed the plea to Autobees’ parents. Even if he is eventually exonerated in his daughter’s death, he still must serve a life sentence for killing Eric Autobee.
“I had to get as much justice out of this situation as I could,” Brauchler said in reference to offering the plea bargain to Montour.
Sources: www.kdvr.com, Denver Post
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