Felony murder statute one step closer to revision in Colorado

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado Senate bill, which would further clarify the definition of felony murder, is one step closer to the governor’s desk.

In a vote on Tuesday, Colorado Senate Bill 21-124 passed. If signed, it moves felony murder from first degree to second degree.

Currently, if convicted of a felony, an offender would serve life behind bars without the possibility of parole. If new legislation is signed into law, the same offender could instead serve 16 to 48 years behind bars.

Jeanette Orchard was among those at the state Capitol on Tuesday.

In May 2018, her father was killed in Canon City. Orchard says a man was burglarizing the family home when her dad walked in on the crime. The suspect has since been arrested.

She’s worried if the latest Senate bill is signed into law, her father’s killer could eventually go free.

“It’s gonna impact victims from the past, present and all, going into the future,” said Orchard.

Colorado does not have the death penalty.

Sen. Pete Lee’s office sent FOX31 the following statement:

“The current life without parole penalty for unintended homicide is an unfair and disproportionate relic of medieval days,” said Senator Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, bill sponsor and Chair of the Judiciary Committee. “Someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time does not deserve to be behind bars for the rest of their life — they should be punished for the crime they actually committed, and that’s what this bill seeks to accomplish.”

Next up, the legislation awaits the governor’s signature.

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