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Rye triple murder suspect may face death penalty

Published On: Jan 03 2014 06:59:03 PM CST

Mapps May Face Death Penalty

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The suspect in the Rye triple murder did not appear in court in Pueblo on Friday.

According to our partners at the Pueblo Chieftain, Harry Mapps waived his advisement.

He should make his first court appearance on January 13th.

Mapps is accused of killing Reginald and Kim Tuttle and their daughter, Dawn Roderick. He’s also suspected of setting their home on fire in November. He was arrested in Oklahoma.

Pueblo District Attorney, Jeff Chostner told our partners at the Pueblo Chieftain that his office has not yet filed formal charges against Mapps, but is weighing the option of the death penalty.

We spoke with a former deputy district attorney who has been involved in a death penalty that was tried in Pueblo. He told us about the long and emotional process.

"It's very rare in Pueblo. In 25 years that I've been practicing law there has not been one death penalty case that I can recall," said Dan Kay, attorney in Colorado Springs.

Kay has seen a death penalty trial first hand. He says it all comes down to weighing the evidence.

“In this case three people died. An aggravator would be that he fled the jurisdiction and that he used their checks. Those are very severe. Another aggravator would be that the family wants to pursue it, if they do," said Kay.

Those are the pre-meditated actions that could point a death penalty. Kay also says the suspect's mental health will be taken into account.

"Mental capacity is a potential defense. They will have him looked into evaluated and determine whether he did have the mental capacity to commit these crimes," says Kay.

Kay adds that pursing a death penalty sentence is expensive and can be overwhelming for a prosecutor.

"It took two months to try the case and it was an incredible amount of resources involved. It's hard to justify putting these kinds of resources into a death penalty case when the person is going to plead guilty and go to prison for the rest of his life. Ultimately, it could be in the millions. That's also something to consider. Whether you want to poor your resources into something that may be going to be off the table. Our Colorado legislature currently is looking into whether or not the death penalty should be a tool for the DA's office,” says Kay.

Mapps' charges will include three counts of first degree murder and arson.

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