Court mistake sets man free, but he’s been sent back for 90 years after turning life around

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AURORA, Colo. -- An Aurora man who turned his life around after a court error set him free is back behind bars for 90 years. It’s inside the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington where he spoke to us about why he deserves a second chance.

Rene Lima-Marin was 19 years old when he robbed two video stores at gunpoint one day 15 years ago.

He served 10 years of what he thought was a 16-year sentence before a judge sent him back to prison in January.

"It's that every day, happy, white-picket-fence type of life," says Lima-Marin, about the world he created with a wife and two kids after leaving prison nearly six years ago.

It’s a life he never imagined could be his as a convicted felon.

"What makes this that much harder, is the fact I constantly have them right here,” as he points to his head.

That life vanished overnight January 7, when a judge in the 18th Judicial District sent him back to prison to finish a 98-year sentence.

"98 years for what? You know, for what?" he says with disbelief.

He says his appeals lawyer told him 13 years earlier that his sentence was just 16 years.

"She was like, in this appeals process, the best thing that could have possibly happened to you was that everything would be ran concurrent and you would have 16 years. And that’s what you have right now. He says she told him, in her advice, to withdraw his appeal for a reduced sentence.

But her information was wrong—as was the court file sent to the Department of Corrections stating his sentences should run all at once, instead of back-to-back.

"I would have never had a wife. I would have never had children. I would have never bought a house. I would have never done any of those things. But I did those because you let me out. And now they are being punished for something they had absolutely nothing to do with," he says about his family.

It’s a punishment he says is excessive.

"People have raped, molested kids, taken lives and 15, 20, 25 years. And I made a mistake and tried to steal some money and I am given my entire life in prison? It just doesn't make sense," he says.

He also says the rifle he used wasn’t loaded and no one was hurt.

His prior criminal history was thefts committed as a juvenile.

Yet, his case was aggressively prosecuted under a program call COP (chronic offender program) that’s no longer in use. It consisted of a board of police, citizens and district attorneys who approved cases in which there were multiple acts of criminal behavior or extensive criminal history.

His eight convictions led to a 98-year sentence. The judge ordered each sentence to run consecutive to each other.

Three counts of armed robbery got him 10 years each for a total of 30 years. It’s a crime that normally carries a term of just four to 16 years.

The convictions also included three counts of kidnapping, each carrying 16 years.

Rich Orman, Senior Deputy DA with the 18th Judicial District says Lima-Marin was charged with kidnapping because he moved three people from the front of the store to the back.

He also got 10 years each for two counts of burglary.

The Colorado State Public Defender says had Lima-Marin’s case been prosecuted today, he’d likely get a more reasonable offer of between 20 to 30 years.

Lima-Marin and his family say the punishment is wrong.

"I did something wrong. I acknowledge the fact I did something wrong. I take responsibility for the fact I did something wrong. But I also believe I completed the punishment, the just punishment for the crime," he says.

It’s a punishment he says breaks up his family.

"And not only for me, because I know that seems selfish, because it hurts me. But it hurts them as well," he says with tears in his eyes.

Lima-Marin served 10 years with exemplary behavior—not written up even once. And when he got out, he pledged he’d never do anything to go back.

"That's all I want people to see, is that I'm not that guy. I don't deserve 98 years. I deserve the time that I did," he says.

He just wants justice.

And he hopes the same justice system that put him in here, lets him out.

He believes it will happen.

"I have complete 100 percent faith that God is going to bring me out of this. It's just a matter of the when," he says.

Lima-Marin won’t even be eligible for parole until the year 2054—40 years from now—when he’s 75.

His family has set up an online petition to help generate support for his immediate release.

They’re also accepting any donations to help pay for a lawyer that has accepted the case.

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67 comments

  • Sophia

    This man never actually hurt anyone; are we really going to waste taxpayer money keeping this man in jail for the next 90 years? Reassess the case, reduce the sentence, and make room for people who actually deserve being in jail.

  • Russell Theilman

    So, he did this when he was 19? and he served 10 years? and has been out for 6 years and has been a generally good person since? let him go. Because at this point, we, the tax payers now have to pay to incarcerate him and and his kids will end up in the welfare system and will cost us more, instead of him being a contributing member of society. Anyways, aren’t the jails a bit over crowded anyways?

  • Anonymous

    This is ridiculous jail is supposed to be rehabilitation. This man is obviously now a normal functioning part of society.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. Really sad. What is the risk he poses to society, I don’t see any. It would be different if he would have hurt somebody.

  • Debby

    Well I think he deserved the sentence he was given because of the old cliche, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” He used a gun, I don’t care if it was loaded or not. It’s lucky he didn’t get shot and get others hurt. BUT as someone made a huge error and let him out to start a life, let him out with strict probation; making him support his wife and kids, no crimes, job, drug and alcohol testing, community service, etc, etc…

      • Anonymous

        Arrgh – what do you agree with? Agree to put him into a program to guide him down a path which he has already proven he is on? This guy served time, and came out as a productive member to society. What would be the point in all that, besides giving you comfort in knowing he is being punished more – is that what you need to sleep better at night? Jail/Prison/Probation are all to rehabilitate offenders – this guy clearly has proven he has already. Self-righteousness is disgusting… look at the entire situation before you judge it!

  • Neal Moody

    This state is so screwed up! Why would they use something that is not even used any more? Why can’t this judge see that he has changed? So they made a mistake, he took advantage of it and saw it as a 2nd chance in life, and he tookl it and made it better! Now this idiotic judge (who is blind and has no heart or soul) wants to send him back for 90 years becasue of a system that is not even in use anymore? So where is the brains in this? Are they are dumb or something? He did the time, and crime and yet as tax payers we have to pay for this to? Talk about stupidty in the law department! Let him GO! I mean it, get some common sense here and let him go he did the time, and let him live his life with his family!

  • Kathy Iverson

    once again the courts messed up no surprise there but it was there mistake they should not make this man go back to prison for their mistake. the courts should call it time served and leave him alone.

  • jason

    Put him in for another 99 on top if his sentence of 90. He was an adult when he committed the crime it wasn’t an accident he knew what he was doing.

    • grace

      Your an idiot. Probably don’t have a job and don’t pay your taxes either..why would want to keep someone in jail who’s shown he’s been rehabilitate is that what jails for???

      • Kevin Christopher Jones

        Jail is for rehabilitation as well as punishment. Why do people continue to think that someone 18 should be treated as an adult when in every other way we see them as kids and know they make mistakes.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry Kevin, but multiple armed robberies are not a mistake. They are criminal acts and at eighteen here knew that what he was doing carried with it big consequences. I agree that 98 years is way to harsh of a sentence, but I’m not so sure that 10 is enough of a sentence either. Nobody was hurt or killed in these crimes, but that is by the grace of God. I’ve seen far to many similar crimes have bad endings.

  • grace

    This is ridiculous!! Yes he’s was young all of us do stupidity thing’s maybe not to this extent but he realized his mistake should his boys be with there father and be held accountable for the courts mistake..this world we live in is crazy..have a heart if I was an attorney I would take this case for freeNot!!! The judge needs to release this young man ..because this is so NOT right this man needs to be released.. tax payer money spent for an error for 90years ..keep the murders in jail, rapists, child molesters.. I be happy for my taxes to be spent on those creeps

  • grace

    This is ridiculous!! Yes he’s was young all of us do stupidity thing’s maybe not to this extent but he realized his mistake should his boys be without there father and be held accountable for the courts mistake..this world we live in is crazy..have a heart if I was an attorney I would take this case for freeNot!!! The judge needs to release this young man ..because this is so NOT right this man needs to be released.. tax payer money spent for an error for 90years ..keep the murders in jail, rapists, child molesters.. I be happy for my taxes to be spent on those creeps

  • jeff

    I am generally very conservative and would generally would agree to put an offender away for a long time, however the 10 years he spent, was well deserving of the crime AND an additional 90 years is ludicris. Not only that he has proven himself BEYOND a reasonable doubt to be a good member of society and we all have a duty to help his family to get him released, regardless of original sentence. Let true justice be done and put him on probation or something. at very least

  • Fast45

    This story does make one wonder … Our legislature won’t send repeat DUI offenders who endanger everyone to prison because “it is too expensive.” Cops who routinely beat up innocent citizens are armed when they commit those crimes. This guy was released too soon, but another 90 years seems quite excessive.

  • Sam

    Our justice system is a joke. He proved that he can be a productive member of society and you send him back due to your error!! If he committed another crime while he was out that’s one thing. The man bought a home and started a family. If you don’t sign the petition to free this man your heartless. People need to start taking a stand for injustice because if we don’t we won’t have any freedoms left. Stand up and shout at these judges, police, politicians don’t lay down and take it.

  • whitey

    If he was married to the Aurora fire chief we would walk.
    Tom Martino beat his wife and got zero….

  • marisa

    I’m appalled at the entire justice system in the US. Nearly everyone in prison in the US should be doing something productive like picking fruits and vegetables, factory work, manufacturing, etc, and that time should be doubled to gain them early release for good behavior. I really hate heartless prosecutors.

  • Don Shelton

    I,m all about punishing for the crime but the justice system screwed up and let him out and he has proved that he is trying to walk the line .I think they should give him the chance to continue to prove that he is not going to offend again. or at least revaluate the case .

  • Brandy fasang

    I am terribly ashamed of our court system and I feel so saddened for this guy and his family! What has this world come too?! He served his time, and has proven to everyone that HE IS NOT A THREAT!! I could not live with myself if I was the heartless bully who took this man away from his family! Way to go america, im so ashamed and I will continue to pray for his freedom until hes home with his loved ones.

  • Nicole

    I can’t believe some of the responses here. The sentence is too harsh bottom line. I know of murderers who have gotten less sentences. The sentence should fit the crime. He was under a program that they obviously deemed as unjust that’s why they got rid of it. If this occurred today he would not get this same type of sentence. The other crimes he committed was as a juvenile not an adult. Which is a huge difference in his way of thinking. He needs a good attorney.

  • Anonymous

    Wow I think this is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard! So wrong!!!!! Praying that he will be released back to his family, he certianly has paid his price for the crime. Completely over the top sentencing!!

    • Anonymous

      Seem like all the innocent
      people get locked up while the guilty get set free. Justice is a mistake…

  • doggercise

    The Judge and the DAs should be in prison, and their descendants forbidden from working in all fields of law and civil service unto the fourth generation

Comments are closed.

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