Editorial: A quixotic case

The Pueblo Chieftain: A long-running legal battle came to an end last week when Miguel Contreras-Perez pleaded guilty to killing one Colorado corrections officer and attempting to murder another in 2012. Contreras-Perez admitted to stabbing to death Colorado Department of Corrections Sgt. Mary Ricard and attempting to kill Sgt. Lori Gann in the same manner.

A judge sentenced Contreras-Perez to a life sentence plus 48 years. Since he isn’t eligible for parole, Contreras-Perez should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

While the legal proceedings may be over, there’s more to this story that needs to be examined. For seven years, the district attorney in the 16th Judicial District pursued a death penalty case against Contreras-Perez, despite the near certainty that such a sentence never would be imposed.

In the process, his office piled up $1.665 million worth of legal expenses between October 2012 and July 1 of this year, according to records obtained by The Pueblo Chieftain. Those expenses were reimbursed by the Colorado Department of Corrections, which is funded by your taxpayer dollars.

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