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No death penalty trial for Colorado man accused in killings

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Prosecutors are no longer pursuing the death penalty for a 23-year-old man accused of being one of two gunmen in the March 2017 killings of two Coronado High School students.

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May said his office decided to abandon the death penalty as a sentencing option against Marco Garcia-Bravo of Colorado Springs, The Gazette reported Monday.

Garcia-Bravo is scheduled for trial beginning July 17 in the fatal shootings of 16-year-old Natalie Cano-Partida and 15-year-old Derek Greer.

May’s office said the students’ families no longer support pursing capital punishment as a penalty option.

In March, Gov. Jared Polis signed a death penalty repeal bill into law and commuted the sentences of all three men on Colorado’s death row. The repeal law applies to offenses charged starting July 1.

“The families believe that continuing to pursue a death sentence in this case is meaningless and will unnecessarily prolong the proceedings,” May said in a court filing obtained by The Gazette. “It is clear to them that the governor has stated he has no intention of accepting a jury’s decision if a death sentence is imposed.”

Cano-Partida and Greer were abducted from a party in Colorado Springs at gunpoint and driven to a road outside the nearby city of Fountain, where they were shot at point-blank range, authorities said.

The two teenagers were targeted over suspicions that Cano-Partida had been helping a rival street gang, investigators said, adding that Greer was killed to eliminate a witness.

Garcia-Bravo was among 10 people arrested in the case.

Diego Chacon was identified as a shooter and pleaded guilty in December 2018 to two counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 65 years imprisonment under terms of his plea agreement.