Families of murder victims rally against death penalty

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DENVER -- The family of three murder victims spent their day protesting someone you wouldn’t expect.

They’re standing against the Eighteen Judicial District Attorney—and his decision to pursue the death penalty against the killer of a Limon prison guard 11 years ago.

Jury selection is underway in the retrial of former death-row inmate, Edward Montour, in Douglas County.

The Colorado Supreme Court threw out his death sentence in 2007 because a judge imposed it—instead of a jury.

Then, last year, his lawyers got his guilty plea tossed out too.

D.A. George Brauchler thinks Montour should still be put to death—but not the father of Montour’s victim, 23-year-old Eric Autobee.

Bob Autobee is joined by families of other murder victims protesting outside the courthouse Wednesday.

“An eye for an eye leaves us all blind,” says Erin McNally-Nakamura, the cousin of murder victim Colleen O’Connor.

They share a horrific connection--each of their loved ones suffered violent deaths.

“After crying every day for 10 years I had to do something,” says Autobee.

They also share the same view on the death penalty.

“It’s not going to solve any problem. It’s not going to help with my grief. I am not going to miss my cousin any less,” says McNally-Nakamura, whose 17-year-old cousin was killed by Nathan Dunlap 20 years ago.

“I know she wouldn’t want him killed,” says Tim Ricard, widower of a slain corrections officer in 2012. He says Mary Ricard wouldn’t want her killer, Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez executed.

“We’re trying to get a message to the D.A. Brauchler,” says Autobee.

They all stand in support of Autobee, whose son Eric, was bludgeoned to death as a prison guard in Limon in 2002.

“The fact that they want to kill somebody in his name is a dishonor to my son because my son was not about death. He was about life,” says Autobee about

Brauchler wants to execute Montour—a decision Autobee initially agreed with. But now, he wants an end without violence.

“What would my son want me to do? Then it dawned on me, He wouldn’t want me to be upset, and have hate, and carry this the rest of my life. He would want me to forgive,” says Autobee.

And Autobee did just that.

“It’s a time for forgiving. It’s a time to move on,” Autobee tells Montour in a videotaped restorative justice meeting in December.

Autobee forgave Montour—and it brought the convicted killer to tears. Montour had already been serving a life sentence for killing his infant daughter.

“I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused you for killing your son,” he told Autobee.

So they stand in silence. Their signs speak louder than words.

Their hope is they can right what they feel is wrong.

“I know this is what he would want me to do and I know he’s happy that I am happy,” says Autobee about his son.

Autobee says this case is about more than the death penalty.

He feels the Department of Corrections is a broken system. And the money the state will spend on this death penalty case—he estimates at $15-million –could be spent toward improving prison security.


  • Fast45

    Poor, misguided people …

    Who cares about their opinion? They could just as well be rallying against speed limits, drunk driving laws, or high taxes.

    Rope is cheap; trees are everywhere. It’s time for the nathan Dunlaps and James Holmes types to meet justice … even if these protesters don’t like the laws.

  • Debby

    Obviously these killers have no respect for life, especially the one that killed a baby; his own flesh and blood; AND a guard. It is 100 percent proven he did it. He is not safe, to society or the other guards and inmates, therefore he could never be released to society again. So why keep him around? The cost though is really out of control, to keep them or kill them.

  • Lynn

    It would cost more to kill him then keep him alive. An eye for an eye and we’d all be blind.. So true!! BUT I think I would feel different if he had killed my child. BUt until you yourself are in that position you can really never know how u would feel?

  • Dudley Sharp

    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.

    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.

  • Fast45

    Dudley … you’re not very ‘sharp.’ Your post is longer than my Johnson. Write essays somewhere else, please. Geeeeezus!

  • Margaret Hurley

    Nobody is saying the killers should not be punished-they should never see the light of freedom again. This dispute is about whether the state can somehow balance out the tragedy scale by killing the killer. Impossible! Colleen O’Connor was my beloved niece and our family was devastated by her murder. However, the killing of her killer would not balance the scales of justice or bring me peace; how can we begin to end the endless cycle of anger/violence/revenge except by having the courage to say “enough” where and when we can. That is what my niece Erin Nakamura and the others are doing and they have earned the right to their opinion. Bless them.

  • UncleSamsMisguidedChildrensBudfueledAttorney

    Fast 45 , dude tell your wife I am sorry for the pain I have caused from pounding her with my Johnson , I didn’t know she was used to your lil thing and thought she could take mine , I was wrong. Have fun with my sloppy seconds now that she’s torn from her v to her A

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