As Colorado’s violent crime rate rises, politicians are sending a powerful message that tells criminals our state is soft on first-degree murder.

The House of Representatives voted 38-27 Wednesday to repeal the death penalty. The move follows the recent passage in the Senate. Gov. Jared Polis plans to waste no time signing the bill into law. The moment this takes effect, the risk-benefit equation for premeditated murder will be lighter on risk than it has been for decades.

In negating capital punishment, left-wing Democrats who control state government took from our courts a valuable and strategic option.

Consider the likes of Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. Among arguments for his federal execution was the reasonable concern he might otherwise spend decades behind bars plotting terrorist acts for outside contacts to commit.

We don’t have to imagine anything. Look no further than the assassination of former Colorado Corrections chief Tom Clements. He was murdered in 2013 after opening the door at his Monument home for a killer disguised as a pizza delivery driver. The assassin murdered a pizza driver to obtain the uniform.

Mounting evidence compiled by Gazette investigative reporter Christopher Osher suggests Clements’ killing was “directed, coordinated and planned by the hierarchy of the 211 Crew” — a white supremacist prison gang the killer belonged to before his accidental early release on parole. Law enforcement sources close to the case indicate former Gov. John Hickenlooper kept from the public documented evidence of the gang’s involvement. Hmmm… Maybe such knowledge would raise opposition to nixing the death penalty. If convicts commit murder from prison, maybe we need the ultimate punishment as the only means to stop them.

Colorado has convicts so afraid of death they come clean with prosecutors in exchange for preserving their lives. Take, for example, Walmart killer Scott Ostrem. He’s the lunatic who opened fire in a Thornton Walmart in November 2017, killing three and endangering dozens. Ostrem spared the public any chance of mistrial or acquittal by pleading guilty. He did so “to avoid the maximum penalty for first-degree murder in Colorado of the death penalty,” said District Attorney Dave Young of the 17th Judicial District.

Legislative liberals dispensed with the death penalty, enacted by voters, despite the tearful pleas of parents who have lost children during Colorado’s rising tide of violence. They threw it out without regard for the opposition of Democratic State Sen. Rhonda Fields, the Senate’s assistant majority leader. As detailed in this space Feb. 2, Fields lost her son and future daughter-in-law to two murderers who sit on death row.

This move sends an unmistakable message that Colorado is getting less serious, not more, about premeditated murder. Killers will process this decision. If they didn’t care about the death penalty, they would not take plea deals to spare their lives.

Don’t be surprised if Colorado’s murder rate rises in the wake of this politically indulgent, irresponsible move. By making Colorado a safe space for killers, blood might drench the hands of every politician who did this.

The Gazette Editorial Board


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