Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex died in the Aurora theater shooting, testified in support of a bill that would make it easier for juries to impose the death penalty.
(Photo: Brandon Rittiman, KUSA)
DENVER— A proposal to allow Colorado juries to impose the death penalty without a unanimous decision failed in the state Senate Judiciary committee Wednesday afternoon.
The bill died when committee chair Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) broke ranks with her own party, arguing that the bill was a too-drastic response to recent Colorado cases that ended in life sentences.
Opponents organized a series of witnesses to testify against the bill from the Catholic church to the League of Women Voters.
Only one witness testified in support of the bill: Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex died in the Aurora theater shooting.
Sullivan questioned whether justice was served in the trial, which ended in a life sentence for the shooter who killed 12 and wounded scores more.
Bill sponsor Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) attempted to ease concerns of opponents by offering an amendment to allow the death penalty to be imposed with a threshold of 11 of 12 jurors voting in favor.
His original proposal in SB64 would have allowed the death penalty with 9 of 12 jurors voting in favor.
The amendment passed but the bill died.
Another bill on the subject would allow a second jury to be seated in the event the first jury deadlocks. That effort faces dim prospects in the state House, which is controlled by Democrats.