KKTV 11 News | Colorado Springs, Pueblo | News

Death Penalty Thrown Out

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A juror, who used the Bible during deliberations in a murder trial, leading to a killer's death sentence being thrown out, says she thought she was doing the right thing.

Lana Ochoa spoke on ABC's "Good Morning America" via satellite from Denver Tuesday morning, saying that, given another chance, she wouldn't do anything differently, but Ochoa says she does regret the impact of Monday's Colorado Supreme Court decision on the victim's family.

The high court voted 3 to 2 to overturn Robert Harlan's death sentence, saying jurors deprived him of his right to a fair trial by consulting Bible passages.

Ochoa says jurors are asked to use their morals and values in making decisions, but didn't know they weren't allowed to have a Bible in the jury room.

Harlan will now serve life in prison without parole.

Ochoa says she brought in the Bible, not to 'influence' other jurors, but to 'help' one who was struggling with the death penalty because of his faith. Ochoa says the Bible passages were mainly used to reiterate that God would not punish the juror for sentencing Harlan to death.

The jury convicted Harlan and ordered the death penalty for the 1994 rape and murder of 25-year-old Rhonda Maloney. Harlan abducted the casino worker and raped her at gunpoint for two hours before killing her, following a near escape.

Maloney slipped away from Harlan and flagged down motorist Jaquie Creazzo. She was taking Maloney to a police department when Harlan shot at her vehicle, paralyzing Creazzo from the waist down.

Harlan pulled Maloney from the car and left. Her body was found a week later under a bridge. Harlan blamed the killing on cocaine, alcohol and rage.


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