OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY

GEORGE H. BRAUCHLER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY 18TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
SERVING ARAPAHOE, DOUGLAS, ELBERT AND LINCOLN COUNTIES

6450 S. REVERE PARKWAY Centennial, CO 80111 720-874-8500 FAX 720-874-8501

February 14, 2014

Dear Bob and Lola, As we begin the trial of your son’s murderer, I want to reach out to you again to keep our lines of communication open and to encourage you to use them to ask me questions, express your opinions, or to just talk with me at any time. I understand that you have retained Iris Eytan to represent you and assist you in the pursuit of your rights as victims under our constitution and laws. I respect your decision and will continue to honor it. I have written this letter to be given to you, since I am no longer able to speak with you by telephone or in person at the request of your attorney. I think it is important that you understand from my perspective what is at stake in this case and why we are here. You know well that this case began more than a decade ago. The pursuit of justice has been delayed many, many times, but never at our insistence. District Attorneys Jim Peters and his successor, Carol Chambers, each pursued the death penalty in this case, believing that it is the just outcome of this case. As a result of the court’s decision to allow your son’s killer to withdraw his plea of guilty, I was required to reanalyze this case and again determine if it was appropriate to continue to seek the imposition of a death sentence on Montour. I considered heavily—and still consider as we move through our justice system—the wishes of you and your family. I respect your willingness and ability to forgive the killer who callously and in cold blood murdered your son, who was merely working hard to protect his community. I am glad to hear that you have regained your faith and that your family has pulled together in the aftermath of this horror. I hope to never know if I have your strength to get past something like this. No decision to prosecute, plea bargain, or dismiss a case is ever placed entirely upon the shoulders of the victims of violent crime. There are many factors to be considered, including the impact on your family. Montour’s murderous acts have changed your family forever, and that cannot be r emedied by any outcome of this case. Our criminal justice system is poorly equipped to deal with such issues as faith and forgiveness and cannot completely remedy the results of criminal behavior, especially when the behavior—as here—is an unprovoked, undeserved, and self-satisfying act of murder. You know this as well as anyone. Our system is designed to learn the truth of what a person did or did not do, and then affix the just punishment for their actions. In this case, I believe justice dictates that Montour deserves a death sentence for his conduct.

6450 S. REVERE PARKWAY – CENTENNIAL, CO 80111 – (720) 874-8500 – FAX (720) 874-8501

From my perspective, a man who intentionally kills his 11-week old infant daughter is already in a unique class of murderers. That act alone is an aggravating factor under our laws, which would have made Montour eligible for the death penalty for the murder of his daughter. The prosecutors in that murder case—his first murder case—did not seek a death sentence. Instead, Montour pleaded guilty to his heinous act of infanticide and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As you know, while serving that life sentence, Montour attacked your unsuspecting son from behind—like a coward—and killed him with repeated blows to his head. He knew exactly what he was doing and his motives were selfish. You also remember Montour’s cold-blooded words after he murdered your son and in court. For your son’s killer, remorse and apologies came a couple weeks before this trial and will be used to try to convince a jury to give him yet another shot at a life sentence after his second murder of an innocent person. Of the compelling evidence I reviewed in making this decision, I reviewed Montour’s poems, letters, and statements at his first sentencing hearing. I have attached a copy of the transcript with this correspondence, so you have the opportunity to see what information I have considered. A couple of the notable statements by Montour at this sentencing hearing are:
…the evidence has clearly shown my thought process within the context of my problem-solving skills and in other areas of my life and how little I value human life, along with my total disregard as to the punishment and deterrence the laws are to invoke. I believe it is self-evident that if I am to receive another life sentence, it would afford me yet another opportunity to kill again, as well as an opportunity to educate inmates how to manipulate the law, to essentially get away with murder, given the existing capital sentencing statute.

There can be no guaranteed sentence to administrative segregation. I am concerned that you have been misled about the possible sentence Montour could serve, if he does not receive a death sentence. You have mentioned to me—and I have heard misstated to the media by the handful of vocal defenders of your son’s murderer—that Montour is willing to serve life in administrative segregation, publicly referred to as “solitary confinement.” This sentence is not possible. Under our laws and the rules of the Department of Corrections, no person can be sentenced—even by their own agreement and stipulation—to a life sentence in solitary confinement. The law does not permit this. Anyone who tells you that such a deal can be negotiated is ignorant or intentionally misleading you. This is not a debatable issue. It is the status of our law. If you want to seek an independent opinion about this, I encourage you to reach out to the Department of Corrections and ask for yourself. If Montour is permitted to plead guilty, or a jury does not sentence him to death, he will be sentenced to life in prison without parole...with no additional limitations on where he must be housed, or the conditions of his sentence. That means that short of a death sentence, there is

nothing that prevents Montour from progressing back to general population, back to the privileges of any other one-time murderer, back to the very cell he lived in the day he chose to murder your son, potentially placing other inmates and prison guards in grave danger. However, a person sentenced to death is required by law to be housed in administrative segregation until his sentence is carried out. This is the only sentence that will hold someone in “solitary confinement” until their sentence is fulfilled. It is an injustice for the murderer of a helpless infant to subsequently murder an unsuspecting prison guard and the only consequence to that repeat killer is a temporary change in scenery and the place of his confinement. One of the additional things I must consider is how the resolution of Montour’s case may impact those currently-incarcerated murderers who might seek to kill another prison guard--another Eric. As a former career corrections officer, I ask you to consider what message—what sign— you would like to see posted in prisons throughout Colorado: “If you murder a corrections officer, your sentence will be little different than the one you currently serve.” Or, “If you murder a corrections officer, you will likely face the loss of your life.”

The cost of this case I am also concerned that you have been misled about the cost of this case. Whoever tells you it has—or will—cost “$15 million” should be able to provide you the proof of that. They cannot. There are no prosecutors in our office who were hired specifically for this case. When this case is concluded, the prosecutors and paralegal positions currently assigned to this case will still be here. The extra cost of this case is caused by Montour’s efforts to minimize the responsibility he is willing take in this case. In evaluating who is responsible for any expense in this case, I respectfully encourage you to look at who is responsible for the delays that have occurred in this case and who continues to resist responsibility for their conduct. Any increased costs to this case have taken place prior to this trial and are a direct result of the efforts to force our office to re-prove his guilt, not just in the case of your son’s murder, but also in his previous case of murdering his infant daughter. From the first hours we spent at your home in Pueblo, I have sincerely listened to your thoughts, concerns, and interests in this case. I have answered your questions as fully and candidly as possible. I, too, have been candid with you about my thoughts and interests in this case. I continue to believe that justice dictates that Montour receive a sentence for killing your son above and beyond the life sentence he earned for murdering his daughter. That sentence is death. Anything less would diminish Montour’s evil conduct and its impact on this community, the Department of Corrections, and your family. My obligations also include this community and the families of future victims of murderers like Montour, who will be further undeterred from killing another corrections officer in the future if they know that no additional punishment

will result from their murderous conduct. Nobody should again endure what Montour has forced you and your family to endure. This same analysis and conclusion has been reached by President Obama’s Justice Department here in Colorado. The U.S. Attorney’s office is seeking a death sentence in a prison murder case. In that case, the victim is not a corrections officer, but another inmate.

The integrity of the justice system I am aware that you have invested time and effort into voicing your objections to the death penalty directly to the media and to the potential jurors in the case against your son’s killer. I respect your right to do that. I have taken no steps to prevent you from doing so. I value your constitutional rights even when they are exercised in opposition to my attempts at achieving what I sincerely believe is the appropriate sentence in this case. My concern, which I raise to you for your consideration, is that your efforts may negatively impact the fair administration of justice in this case. I am certain that you agree that jurors should base their decisions about guilt or innocence in this case only upon the evidence and law they receive in court. Your efforts to influence them outside of the courtroom could jeopardize those jurors ability to remain fair and impartial throughout this lengthy trial. I am certain that you do not want to negatively impact the jury’s ability to decide fairly whether Montour murdered your son.

Your participation in this case I am committed to your exercise of the rights afforded you under our constitution and laws in this case. I encourage you to participate in the courtroom and on the witness stand as much as the law will permit. The hearing yesterday has been deliberately characterized by those who seek to save the life of your son’s murderer as an attempt to “muzzle” you or prevent you from testifying. That is not true. You have heard the arguments in court and we will provide you with the pleadings on this issue, if you have not yet reviewed them. You know that our position is that the law places one limitation on the substance of a victim’s testimony to the jury in the sentencing phase of a death penalty case: they cannot tell the jury what sentence they want to see—whether that sentence is life or death. Our position on this issue would be the same even if you changed your mind and again supported a death sentence for Montour. It is clear from the arguments of Montour’s attorneys in writing and in court that their vigorous and vocal support of your right to testify is limited to your testimony being favorable to Montour on the issue of life or death. If you chose to again support death for Montour—a decision you are not obligated to make or to reveal to anyone, his attorneys would likely just as vigorously and vocally oppose your testimony. This case will likely last a couple months. I would like to meet with you and your family at your earliest convenience to continue our ongoing discussion about this case. As I have done over the

past year, I remain available to speak with you as a family, or individually—you can always talk with me one-on-one. I remain open to hearing considering your thoughts and interests in this important case. Very respectfully,

George H. Brauchler District Attorney

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful