Earlier today it was announced that Douglas County District Attorney George Brauchler will not be seeking the death penalty against 19-year-old Devon Erickson. Erickson was the gunman who fired the shot that killed 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo in last May’s school shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado.
Although Kendrick’s Castillo parents were in favor of having Erickson face a potential death sentence, Bruachler has stated that it would be incredibly difficult to successfully pursue the death penalty. According to Brauchler, due to Erickson’s age and lack of a previous criminal record, a death sentence would be almost impossible.
This decision also comes on the heels of Colorado recently repealing the death penalty as of July 1st of this year. That means any crime charged by prosecutors on or after July 1, 2020, will no longer carry a potential death sentence. I don’t like to see states repeal their death penalty laws because, in my opinion, it takes a very valuable tool out of the hands of prosecutors. Plus, there are criminals out there whose acts are so heinous that only a death sentence would bring true justice.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me as Colorado has only executed one criminal since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. I mean, a Colorado jury couldn’t even sentence James Holmes to death so it’s doubtful that Erickson would have been.
Previously, Erickson’s cohort Alec McKinney pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is scheduled to be sentenced in May. Erickson’s trial is set to begin also in May.