Juvenile killer granted clemency released from prison | granted, released, juvenile - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
The last time Charles Limbrick Jr. walked without shackles, he was a child.
Now he’s a free man.
Limbrick, one of the youngest killers in Colorado Springs’ history, was released from prison earlier this month after nearly 23 years behind bars — ending a grueling effort to free him by lawyers, politicians and the man who oversaw his prosecution.
“I thought frankly, he’d probably have a better chance at integration into society at 37 ... than 55,” said John Suthers, Colorado’s Attorney General and the 4th Judicial District Attorney when Limbrick was convicted.
“I thought it was a fairly appropriate case to consider commutation.”
At the age of 14, Limbrick waited in his house with a .357-caliber gun. He pulled the trigger when his mother walked through the front door of their house near Mitchell High School.
Suthers said Limbrick and a friend planned to run away in September 1988 and hatched the murder plot so Betty Limbrick wouldn’t follow them.
The murder was “a heinous crime, very meditated,” Suthers said, and one based off of “kind of naïve juvenile logic.”
It was also unexpected.
Limbrick didn’t have a criminal past. Hours before he shot his mother in the hand and head, Limbrick gave a speech at his school, vying for class president.
“It was very clear that Chuck was a pretty bright young man,” Suthers said.
Suthers became one of Limbrick’s staunchest advocates for early release. Limbrick was sentenced to life in prison in June 1989 with the possibility of parole, and at age 15, was the youngest person in an adult correctional facility.
Limbrick kept a good record in prison and became active in prison ministry, sang in the prison choir and recorded Christian music CDs.
Volunteers in the prison said “absolutely wonderful things” about Limbrick, Suthers said.
Former Gov. Bill Owens offered Limbrick the first hope of early release, giving the man a limited commutation in December 2006. Four years later, out-going Gov. Bill Ritter wiped away the rest of his sentence.
Limbrick was released on July 1.
“For a 15-year-old that commits murder, 22, 23 years is a long time,” Suthers said. “And I suspect if he’s going to make it, this is a good time to let him have a shot at it.”