BRIGHTON, Colo. – Prosecutors have asked the U.S. Supreme Court (search) to review a case in which a convicted murderer's death sentence was overturned because jurors went beyond the evidence and consulted a Bible during deliberations.
Robert Harlan (search), who was convicted in the 1994 killing of cocktail waitress Rhonda Maloney, is serving a life sentence since the Colorado Supreme Court in March agreed with a lower court's ruling that the jury's action was improper.
Adams County (search) prosecutors hope to reverse the state court's ruling.
"I agree with the jury that he deserves the death sentence," District Attorney Don Quick said in a statement Friday.
The U.S. Supreme Court is in summer recess and will not decide whether to review the case until after it reconvenes in October.
The state high court's majority said jurors could be influenced by biblical passages such as "an eye for an eye," and another requiring that people obey the government and its officials because they are chosen by God. Jurors referred to both in deliberating Harlan's fate.
Juror Lana Ochoa said she has no regrets about the jury's actions.
"I still stand firm that whatever happens to him is God's will," Ochoa said.
Harlan ran Maloney's car off a road on Feb. 12, 1994, and raped her at gunpoint. Passer-by Jaquie Creazzo stopped to help but was shot twice.
Maloney's body was found a week later. Creazzo remains paralyzed from the waist down.
"I think the jury came to a decision of good conscience," Creazzo said. "I think they used the Bible to justify (the decision) so they could sleep nights. I don't think they used it to make their decision."