Clemency for these six prisoners could save millions and serve justice -- so why won't Governor Ritter try it?

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Ind's crime may be considered far too horrific by the clemency board to merit any action. But the severity of his sentence compared to those in other parricide cases may be an argument in his favor.

Pendulum director Johnson, who served on Ind's defense team and wrote a book about the case, believes Ind may actually have a strong case for clemency, despite write-ups in the system that have moved him from the Limon prison back to CSP, the state supermax.

"Jacob is someone who doesn't bow down too well to authority, but I actually think he would be a good candidate," she says. "He has strong family support. He's got a degree in theology. There is very little victim opposition to him, he's intelligent, and I think he would have little trouble getting work."

Estimated savings if released: $1,236,637


Age: 26

Convicted of: Kidnapping, attempted murder, robbery, assault, menacing

Sentence: 68 years, later reduced to 40 years

Mandatory Release Date: May 22, 2035

Tara Perry turned sweet sixteen in the closing week of 1998. She was on the speech team at Aurora Central High School, active in her church youth group and carried a Christian Daily Planner to map out her activities.

Five months later, she still had the planner when police pulled her out of a crashed Ford Explorer after a high-speed chase through western Kansas. It was the end of a terrifying four-day crime spree that had involved a crew of badass young thugs — and one conspicuous girl — who pulled home invasions in Cheyenne and Denver, jacked the Explorer in Cherry Creek and stuck its driver in a storage compartment, robbed a suburban hotel and shot up a King Soopers on Smoky Hill Road.

What transformed Perry from typical high-schooler to gun moll? His name was Randy Miller. Perry met him when she was thirteen and Miller was twenty. Miller was an intriguing bundle of romance and doom, a former child prostitute who'd worked Colfax at the age of ten and was frequently in trouble. Perry wrote to him when he went to prison and moved in with him when he got out.

Miller wooed her and wowed her. He also beat her, kept her away from her family and demanded to know her whereabouts at all times.

Then Miller botched his parole. Determined not to go back to a cell, he decided it was time to "breeze" — but not before he raised some cash, with the help of Perry and some other faltering parolees. They walked into people's houses, stuck gats in their faces and helped themselves to whatever money and vehicles they could find.

Miller led his crew into the King Soopers and instructed Perry, wearing a black nylon stocking over her head, to fire three shots in the air from a .22 rifle. The failed robbery turned into a panic of shots, pistol-whipping and broken glass. Then Miller and Perry split for Kansas. When the Explorer crashed, Perry surrendered while Miller ran to a nearby house, took hostages, then shot himself in the head.

Perry cooperated with the police and agreed to testify against other defendants. She didn't injure any of the robbery victims. But facing enough charges to put her away for several lifetimes — twenty counts in the grocery store debacle alone — she entered plea deals that got her 26 years from a Denver judge and another 40 years, plus change, from Arapahoe County judges. A 2001 sentence reconsideration allowed the sentences to be served concurrently, trimming the overall time, but her attempts to get an appointed attorney for further appeals have been denied. She's had two minor disciplinary infractions in the decade she's been in prison.

"Tara knows she did wrong and destroyed a big part of her life," Perry's mother wrote to a judge in 2000, pleading for mercy. "If not for Mr. Miller and the others involved in these crimes, Tara would still be at home, going to school, and have a life ahead of her."

Estimated savings if released: $747,734


Age: 28

Convicted of: Possession of contraband in a correctional facility

Sentence: 24 years

Mandatory Release Date: November 24, 2032

In the ranks of petty thieves and small-timers, Jacinto Perez may be one of the biggest losers. His crimes aren't remarkable or even interesting, but the resulting cost to him and to Colorado taxpayers almost defies comprehension.

In 2003, Perez, on probation for a drug charge, was caught rifling through someone else's car in downtown Denver. A few months later, he was busted after breaking into a small store and stealing three packs of cigarettes, valued at $8.25. He got six years for the burglary. A man of many aliases and a native of Mexico who had entered the country illegally, he was also scheduled to be deported upon completion of his sentence.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast