DENVER (AP) – A Colorado judge ruled Friday not to delay the death penalty trial of a man accused of killing a prison guard, despite prosecutors’ request for more time to respond to new questions about the suspect’s original conviction.
Douglas County District Judge Richard B. Caschette denied District Attorney George Brauchler’s request to postpone the trial of Edward Montour, who was serving a life sentence for the 1997 death of his 11-week-old daughter when prosecutors say he beat to death corrections officer Eric Autobee in 2002. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Opening statements are expected to begin next week.
Brauchler sought more time after defense attorneys announced during jury selection that they would call new witnesses who would testify that Montour’s daughter, Taylor, suffered an undiagnosed bone disease, and her death was an accident. Caschette also refused to eliminate the new witnesses.
The judge wrote in his order that prosecutors have known for months about defense attorneys’ efforts to investigate the girl’s death and were not “sandbagged” by the new information as they had claimed. Delaying the trial, he added, would put the entire case at risk of being dismissed on speedy trial grounds.
At a Thursday court hearing, Autobee’s father, Bob Autobee, told the judge not to put the trial on hold any longer.
“The victim’s family seeks emotional peace through final resolution of this case and they have a right to be heard,” Caschette wrote in the order.
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