Should Colorado Offer Parole to Its Remaining "Lifer" Juvenile Killers?

April 4 2011, 10:03 AM

Gang activity reached such a deadly point in the warm months of 1993 that law enforcement agencies around the state refer to it as the "summer of violence." Brothers David and Anthony Carrillo, Phillip Michael Montoya, and three of their gang brethren got in on it when they fatally shot Chris Romo through the bedroom window of his Pueblo home. All the men were teenagers at the time, and Montoya and David Carillo remain imprisoned, possibly for life, a fate the Chieftain explores in a package called Life Without Parole.

Last week, state legislators unsuccessfully attempted to push forth a law that would offer parole to Colorado's 48 inmates who were incarcerated for life when they were juveniles. (In 2006, the Legislature passed a bill making 40 years the maximum sentence a juvenile could receive—but it didn't apply to the lifers already locked up.) Among those testifying against the measure were members of the Romo family, but the bill's bipartisan sponsors are hopeful they can use a rare tactic to save it. It's unlikely, but the ongoing politics surrounding Colorado's summer of violence have taken unpredictable turns (CSIndy).