A convicted murderer who raped a woman for two hours, paralyzed a good Samaritan, and left his victim’s nude body under a remote bridge was spared execution by the Colorado Supreme Court because jurors consulted the Bible when deciding his fate, says the Rocky Mountain News. The court ruled 3-2 that biblical passages considered by jurors who in condemned Robert Harlan to death in 1995 may have unduly influenced their decision. He will serve life in prison without parole. Bob Grant, said the case cries out for the death penalty.
A judge overturned the death sentence in 2003 after learning that jurors consulted the Bible and discussed such passages as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Justice Nancy Rice dissented. She called the ruling “demeaning” to jurors, saying it assumes they can’t be trusted to think for themselves. She questioned the difference between jurors who have biblical passages committed to memory and those who, as in this case, referred to the written word.