Colorado abolishes capital punishment

Colorado became the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty on Monday.

Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation banning capital punishment in the state, and commuted the death sentences of death row inmates Robert Ray, Sir Mario Owens, and Nathan Dunlap to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Capital punishment was barred nationally in the 1970s before the Supreme Court reinstated it. Since then, there have been 1,517 executions nationwide.

Colorado’s last execution was in 1997.

State Sen. Rhonda Fields (D), whose son was murdered by Ray, said commuting the sentences “hijacks justice.”

But Udi Ofer, deputy national political director of the ACLU, said it was good news that Colorado “will no longer kill people as punishment.”

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