Colorado court upholds death row conviction of man who killed witness

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Sir Mario Owens

Sir Mario Owens

DENVER — A man who killed a potential witness and his fiancee had his death row conviction upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals Thursday.

Sir Mario Owens was convicted of killing Javad Marshall-Fields, a potential witness in the murder trial of another man, Robert Ray, and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe.

Owens appealed his conviction, claiming 17 witnesses on probation may have received special treatment and a judge was wrong to limit access to those potential witnesses out of concern for their safety.

Marshall-Fields and Wolfe were killed in 2005 when they were stopped at an intersection in Aurora. Marshall-Fields had been scheduled to testify as a witness against Owens and Ray in connection with the 2004 killing of Gregory Vann in Aurora.

Ray was also sent to death row in 2010 for ordering Owens to commit murder in addition to his role in the slaying of Vann.

Owens joins two others on Colorado’s death row list — all three men are from Aurora. Ray and Owens are joined by Nathan J. Dunlap, 38, who has been on death row since 1996. He was convicted for the 1993 murder of four at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Aurora.

Carol Chambers, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, sent both Ray and Owens to death row. Chambers is currently prosecuting James E. Holmes, the suspected gunman in the Aurora theater tragedy who shot 70 and killed 12. Many have suggested Chambers should seek the death penalty for Holmes.

The last execution in the state of Colorado came Oct. 13, 1997. Gary Lee Davis, 53, was given lethal injection after being convicted in 1987 of raping a woman and then shooting her 14 times.

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