COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Members of a community in Colorado Springs have an unusual decision to make now that a convicted felon announced his candidacy for city council.
Gary Flakes spent more than 12 years in prison as an accessory in the brutal murders of two teenagers in 1997. It remains one of the most notorious crimes in the city’s history.
Since his release from prison, he has become the principal owner of a consulting firm that focuses on leadership development.
He says his past has prepared him well to serve in public office, but some members of the community say his candidacy is reopening old wounds.
“As a young person my actions devastated the community and brought grief to two families,” Gary Flake says. “The teenager who committed those acts needed the young leader I am today. Today I will use my past experiences and knowledge to make the lives of young people better.”
People who oppose Flakes’ candidacy held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in honor of the two victims who were killed in 1997.
“It’s still hard for them [family members] every time they hear his name,” says Dan Valentine. “They have to relive everything all over again so I’m pretty sure it’s real tough for [the family].”