Once Sentenced To Life, Curtis Brooks Walks Out Of Prison A Free Man

July 1, 2019
Curtis Brooks was an inmate at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Ordway, Colorado. 
Curtis Brooks was an inmate at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Ordway, Colorado. 
Nathaniel Minor/CPR News
Curtis Brooks was an inmate at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Ordway, Colorado.

Curtis Brooks was 15 years old when he was involved in a robbery turned murder. He was sentenced to life without parole. 

Now, at 39, Brooks has been released from prison. 

Brooks is one of dozens of Coloradans -- and hundreds across the country -- who got mandatory sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled those sentences are cruel and unusual punishment. Now, courts are in the process of re-sentencing them. 

Last year former Gov. John Hickenlooper stepped in and granted Brooks clemency. Today, as Brooks walked out of a prison in southeastern Colorado, he would remember 29-year-old Christopher Ramos, the man who was shot during the 1995 robbery. 

Brooks didn't fire the weapon that killed Ramos -- something Hickenlooper noted in his clemency letter. 

“People might think that I've done 24 years and now I'm being released, so I'm moving on from this situation. But this is something that I have to carry with me every day,” Brooks said.

When he was granted clemency in December 2018, Brooks told his lawyer he is determined to give back.

“The people who have supported me I owe a lot to, just as I owe a lot to the victim’s family,” he said.

Brooks will be paroled to Maryland where he has family.