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Colorado House To Introduce Repeal Of Death Penalty

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The whirlwind legislative session continues as Colorado lawmakers expect to take up a bill that would repeal the death penalty.

The last time the state legislature tried to ban the death penalty was in 2009 when it failed by just one vote, and this year -- though they have the Democratic votes to pass it -- the bill may get as heated as the gun bills.

Rep. Rhonda Fields' (D-Aurora) son Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee Vivian Wolfe were killed by two of the three men who are currently on death row.

The third man sitting on Colorado's death row, 39-year-old Nathan Dunlap, has a fast-approaching execution date after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal, sending the case back to Colorado's 18th Judicial District where a judge may now set a timeframe for his execution. Dunlap was a 19-year-old former employee of Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora when he shot four employees to death in 1993.

All three of Colorado's death row inmates are serving punishments for crimes they committed in Aurora, and while District Attorney George Brauchler has yet to declare whether he'll seek the death penalty for Aurora movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes, he has said that he supports the death penalty.

According to a report by The Denver Post, this year's testimony is expected to rely more on prosecutors and victims' stories than tales of morality.

The bill reportedly won't be retroactive either, which could mean a heavy choice for Gov. John Hickenlooper.

"Does he sign a repeal bill if it reaches his desk? My guess would be 'yes'," political analyst Eric Sondermann told KDVR. "Absent such a bill, does he commute Nathan Dunlap's sentence when that last-ditch appeal reaches his office? That is a tougher, closer call."

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