Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bryan Grove Gets 40 Years For Lafayette Murder

Tess Damm will be sentenced in May. Brian will be eligible for a halfway house or parole in 22 years if he doesn't have behavior related problems in prison.

— A judge this morning sentenced Bryan Grove to 40 years in prison for stabbing his girlfriend's mother to death last year.

The sentence, handed down by District Judge James Klein, was agreed upon as part of a plea deal Grove, 18, made with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the February slaying of Linda Damm inside her Lafayette home.

"I apologize for the pain and tears and grief I caused," Grove told members of Damm's family during this morning's sentencing hearing. "I lay myself at your mercy and ask for it."

Dennis Comeau, the partner of Damm's brother, told the judge the idea of Grove walking free "sickens" the victim's family. He said the mental images of how Damm was killed will remain with him forever.

"We hope they will stay with Mr. Grove the rest of his life," Comeau said.

Grove initially had been charged with first-degree murder in Damm's homicide. Because he was charged with the crime while still a juvenile, Grove would have faced a mandatory 40-year prison sentence if convicted — not the life sentence that first-degree murder carries for adults.

By pleading guilty to the lesser charge, Grove still received a 40-year term, but he'll be eligible for parole after 75 percent of his sentence has been served, according to Colorado Department of Corrections officials. Under a first-degree murder conviction, he would have been required to serve the full 40 years without the chance of parole.

Police say Grove and his girlfriend, Tess Damm, 16, plotted to kill her mother, who they said was an abusive alcoholic. Tess Damm, who also is charged with first-degree murder, was riding around in a car when the slaying was taking place, police have reported.

Tess Damm's trial is scheduled for May 12, although her attorney is discussing a possible plea deal with prosecutors.

Linda Damm's decaying body was discovered Feb. 28 in the back of a Subaru in the garage of her Lafayette home. The body had been left there for several weeks, police allege, after Grove stabbed the woman 18 times in the neck.

Two of the teens' friends — Jared Smith, 17, and Jared Guy, 19 — have pleaded guilty to related charges for their lesser roles in the homicide.

Rocky Mountain News