Taxpayers may never know cost of defending inmate in death penalty case

The Pueblo Chieftain: Prosecuting the death penalty case for an inmate accused of murdering Colorado Department of Corrections Sgt. Mary Ricard and wounding another officer during a Sept. 24, 2012, attack is costing Coloradans big bucks, but taxpayers may never know just how much.

And prosecutors’ insistence on pursuing the death penalty — even though Colorado has not executed a criminal since 1997; the governor of the state opposes capital punishment; and Ricard’s family opposes execution for the killer — has added more than $1.6 million to the coffers of the District’s Attorney’s Office in Colorado’s 16th Judicial District in La Junta.

Miguel Contreras-Perez, now 40, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Ricard, 55, at the Arkansas Valley prison in Ordway. Contreras-Perez also faces charges of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault in the attack on Sgt. Lori Gann, who survived.

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