Death penalty dropped in Adams County sheriff deputy’s killing; trial postponed again

Death penalty dropped in Adams County sheriff deputy’s killing; trial postponed again

The 24-year-old man accused of killing an Adams County sheriff’s deputy no longer faces the death penalty, District Judge Mark Warner ruled Wednesday.

The judge granted a petition filed by 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young Monday asking that the death penalty option be withdrawn from the case. Young wrote in the motion that seeking the death penalty was pointless because Gov. Jared Polis has shown he will commute any death sentences in the state to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The state abolished the death penalty in a historic vote earlier this month, but the repeal applies only to cases filed on or after July 1, so Dreion Dearing, who is charged with killing Deputy Heath Gumm during a chase in 2018, remained eligible for the penalty.

When Polis signed the repeal into law, he also commuted the sentences of the three Colorado men who were on death row.

Also on Wednesday, Warner further delayed Dearing’s trial — which had started with jury selection in early March — due to concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic. The trial will be postponed until at least April 17, Warner ruled, instead of April 6 as previously scheduled.

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