Death row inmate Frank Rodriguez died early Saturday morning after suffering from liver failure.
Prison officials announced the death but declined to give medical information, citing confidentiality rules. The lawyer representing Rodriguez disclosed the liver failure.
Rodriguez had been sentenced to death 16 years ago but filed numerous appeals and had one pending. He was convicted of several crimes including first-degree murder, sexual assault, robbery and motor vehicle theft.
"Frank Rodriguez had a longer life than a Denver jury said he deserved," said case prosecutor and 7News legal analyst Craig Silverman, who was a Denver chief deputy district attorney during Rodriguez' trial.
One of his victims, Denver bookkeeper Lorraine Martelli, was kidnapped, raped and murdered.
"I spoke to Lorraine's sister this morning and I think she summed it up best when she simply said, 'it's over'."
Rodriguez was one of six men on Colorado's death row. His case was a lightening rod for many people on both sides of the death penalty debate.
"To me, the case points up some major flaws with the death penalty," Silverman said. "The murder occurred nearly 18 years ago. He was caught red handed (the night of the murder). He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986 and here we are in 2002 and at the time of his death we were still waiting for another appellate court to act."
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