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Dad of slain officer begs potential jurors to reject death penalty against suspect

The father of a corrections officer killed more than a decade ago carried a sign Monday along a line of potential jurors, urging them not to impose the death penalty if they convict the inmate accused of the killing.

Bob Autobee also carried a photo of his son, with a message to prosecutors that it is wrong to seek death against Edward Moutour in the 2002 death of Officer Eric Autobee.

"My son wouldn't want the death penalty," he told the shivering crowd. "Do you believe in the death penalty? You're going to have to decide."

Montour was serving a life sentence for killing his infant daughter when authorities said he beat Eric Autobee to death in the kitchen at Limon Correctional Facility. He pleaded guilty to the killing in 2003 and a judge sentenced him to death.

The Colorado Supreme Court, however, reversed that ruling in 2007 and the case was put on hold until April, when a Douglas County judge allowed Montour to withdraw his original plea, sending the case to a retrial.

Montour has now pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

In April, District Attorney George Brauchler announced he would seek the death penalty against Montour.

Jury selection in the case is expected to take as long as two months. Opening arguments will likely begin in March.

Up to 600 potential jurors were called to the courthouse and hundreds more will arrive in the next couple of weeks.

Bob Autobee spoke calmly with the crowd as eyes darted nervously toward and away from him, the Denver Post reported (http://tinyurl.com/n5cqwf3).

Several people asked questions: How old was his son? What punishment is he asking for? How long did his son work for the department of corrections?

Bob Autobee said it would be up to them to determine the proper punishment.

___

Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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