DENVER — A Douglas County district judge on Friday denied a request by the confessed killer of a prison guard to remove prosecutors and end pursuit of the death penalty.
Edward Montour Jr., 43, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the Oct. 18, 2002, beating death of Pueblo native Eric Autobee, 23. At the time, Montour was serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for the murder of his infant daughter.
Autobee was a sergeant assigned to the kitchen of Limon Correctional Facility when Montour attacked him with a 9-pound, 4-foot-long metal ladle.
Montour originally was sentenced to death by a district judge, but the Colorado Supreme Court subsequently ruled that only juries could impose the death penalty, so Montour’s sentence was commuted to life without parole.
Prosecutors from Colorado’s 18th Judicial District, encompassing Jefferson and Gilpin counties, again are seeking the death penalty for Montour.
Montour asked District Judge Richard Caschette to dismiss the capital proceeding against him or disqualify 18th Judicial District prosecutors from his case on grounds that he was denied due process because the prosecution stood to gain financially as an office and individually.
The basis for the defense argument was funds provided to the prosecution by the Colorado Department of Corrections in 2003 and 2007 totaling more than $137,000.