Future of Colorado's death penalty debated as 2 mass killers get life sentences instead

A Denver jury's refusal to give the death penalty to a man who stabbed five people to death in a bar, coming on the heels of theater shooter James Holmes' life sentence, has many wondering whether the ultimate penalty will ever again be applied in Colorado.

Only three three people sit on Colorado's death row. The state's Democratic governor John Hickenlooper urged a conversation about the death penalty in 2013 after granting an indefinite reprieve to the man closest to seeing his execution carried out.

The conversation intensified after jurors spared Dexter Lewis from death in the bar killings. Both he and Holmes will spend life in prison instead.

Denver attorney Dan Recht says the cases could signal the end for the death penalty in Colorado. But other experts say support for it remains.