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Colorado Death Penalty Dies In House Committee After Uncertainty About Hickenlooper's Support

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A bill that would have repealed Colorado's death penalty was killed Tuesday in a House Committee, just one week after Gov. John Hickenlooper let his Democratic colleagues know that he would likely veto the bill if it reached his desk.

According to a report by The Denver Post, Hickenlooper began hinting at a veto last week at a Democratic luncheon.

Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, a co-sponsor of House Bill 1264, expressed open frustration with the bill's failure to advance.

"I think had the governor not signaled so strongly he wouldn't sign the bill, I think we would have had those votes," said Levy.

The measure drew nine hours of emotional testimony Tuesday from people who have experienced all sides of the justice system.

Robert Dewey, who was exonerated just last year after spending 18 years in prison, was among those testifying to repeal the death penalty.

“They talked about the death penalty for my case,” Dewey told the House Judiciary Committee. “If that would have happened, I’d have probably died already for a crime I didn’t do.”

There are three men currently on Colorado's death row, but even if the bill had been signed into law it wouldn't have affected them. The last person the state put to death was Gary Davis in 1997.

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