Colorado

Mar 27, 2014 6:29 PM by Matt Prichard

Inmate suicide stirs talk in Denver

Gabriel Adams was 16-years-old when he murdered two people in Woodland Park in 1992. Earlier this month he hanged himself in a prison cell in Pueblo, leading Denver lawmakers to ask, should juveniles be sentenced to life in prison?

"How do we potentially have a re-sentencing hearing on these juvenile offenders to where we consider them for the seriousness of the crimes they've committed but also keep in mind that they were juveniles at the time they committed their crime," said Denver District-9 Representative, Paul Rosenthal.

Representative Rosenthal is asking the Department of Corrections to evaluate 49 other inmates who were given life sentences as juveniles, and multiple advocacy groups are standing behind him.

"People in prison at 15, 16, 17-years-old....your brain isn't full formed, you don't think, you don't operate the same as an adult. These kids are at a disadvantage, so yest I believe they deserve sympathy," said CURE Colorado spokeswoman, Barbara Stephenson.

But those that remember the Adams' murder well are on the fence, having trouble separating punishment and sympathy.

"I certainly think that he should have been punished. But I think it could be re-looked at, to consider whether that's a good thing to do to a young kid," said Woodland Park resident, Joni Becker.

"I think they know right from wrong but I don't think they really understand the consequences that come from something as serious as murder," said Woodland Park resident, Stanley Relaford.

The discussion on this issue is just beginning in Denver, and we will keep you updated as more details become available.

 

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