Colorado lawmakers Wednesday killed a bill that would have eliminated the requirement that death sentences be unanimous by jurors.
The bill died in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-2 vote.
Originally, the bill sought to allow a death sentence if at least nine of the 12 jurors voted for it. But the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, amended the bill Wednesday, changing the requirement from nine jurors to 11.
Ten people testified in opposition to the bill during the packed committee hearing, including representatives from the Colorado Public Defender’s office, religious organizations and anti-death penalty groups.
Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center said even with the amendments, the legislation would make Colorado’s death sentencing process unlike any other state in the country.
“Standing alone does put you in a target zone,” Dieter said.
Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex, was killed during an attack at an Aurora movie theater on July 20, 2012, was the only person to testify in favor of the bill.
James Holmes, the man convicted of killing Sullivan’s son and 11 others, was sentenced to life after the jury in his case was not unanimous in their final vote.
“I’m not sure if justice was served if only one person voted no,” Sullivan said.