Hazel Brewer would rather Colorado spend money tracking down the person who slit her daughter’s throat than on costly prosecution to send killers to the death chamber, says the Denver Post. She is among a few hundred people tormented by unsolved murders who are pushing Colorado to look toward an unexpected funding source to solve cold cases – abolishing the death penalty. There are about 1,200 unsolved homicides in Colorado. The number grows by 40 to 60 every year as law officers file away old murder cases to catch the latest criminal.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is accustomed to attacks on capital punishment from death-penalty opponents. He calls the latest assault, which links executions to the heartbreak of someone not knowing who murdered their loved one, “intellectually dishonest.” The state legislature has set up a cold-case unit at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The measure calls for a database that will include unsolved murders more than three years old. Colorado has executed just one person in 40 years. Yet the state spends about $770,000 a year pursuing death-penalty cases and trying to keep condemned inmates on death row. Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey acknowledged that pursuing the death penalty is a financial burden but said it’s “not an issue of economics.” Morrissey called it “irresponsible” that politicians opposed to the death penalty are linking their “political agenda to families that are hurting.”