Both are Republicans. Owens is a staunch advocate of the death penalty. Ryan pardoned four death row inmates and commuted the sentences of 167 others to life in prison before he left office in January.
Capital punishment came under scrutiny in Illinois in 1999 after Northwestern University students found evidence that cleared a death row inmate.
Students also discovered new evidence that cleared four convicted killers, two of whom were on death row.
Owens says he believes the death penalty is applied fairly in Colorado.
Two death row inmates have been executed in the state since 1967.
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