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Two Lives Lost

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At 4:00 am this morning, hours before he was to face U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch for sentencing in a fraud case, banker Edward P. Mattar, III took a sledge hammer and knocked out a window in his 18th floor apartment, two blocks from Denver’s federal courthouse, and jumped to his death. A few hours later, 20 miles away in Golden, Colorado, 19-year-old Nathan Quinn Tate faced a state court judge for sentencing following a jury verdict of guilty of first degree murder. His defense to the killing of his friends’ father, who had surprised the pair during a burglary of the father’s residence, was insanity, but the jury didn’t accept that. Nathan Tate was 16 at the time of the murder. The Judge imposed the sentence required by law in Colorado for first degree murder: Life without the possibility of parole. Two lives lost to the criminal justice system, one to suicide, one to a sentence of life in prison. Surely there must be a better way.

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