New evidence supports prisoner's innocence in baby's death

Feb. 4, 2014 at 3:38 PM
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DENVER, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A Colorado prison inmate's legal team is challenging his 1997 conviction, arguing an undiagnosed bone condition caused an infant to die.

The legal case surrounding Edward Montour, who was convicted in 1997 of beating his infant daughter, Taylor, to death -- and later allegedly killing a prison guard, earning him a death sentence -- is complex, his legal team said.

During the initial trial Montour argued the baby fell from his arms as he stood up from a rocking chair. A pathologist determined the death was a homicide because a short fall could not have produced broken bones the baby suffered.

The pathologist now says that determination was wrong because he was unaware the 11-week-old had a rare medical condition making her bones very brittle, the Denver Post reported Tuesday. Dr. Leon Kelly, the chief deputy medical examiner at the El Paso County Coroner's Office, says there is not sufficient evidence to support the homicide determination.

Montour's lawyers filed a motion Monday before Douglas County District Court Judge Richard Caschette to rehear evidence in the case.

In the second case, scheduled to go to trial in March, Montour is accused of beating a 23-year-old prison guard, Eric Autobee, to death at Limon Correctional Facility in 2002. He was sentenced to death under a state law that requires capital punishment for lifer prison inmates who kill a corrections officer.

Montour pleaded guilty to the crime in 2003 but his lawyers won the right to have that plea withdrawn and replaced by a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. His legal team says undiagnosed mental problems were exacerbated when Montour entered the penal system, causing him to attack Autobee.

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