If Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) is not re-elected in November, he says he “could” respond to the loss by commuting the death sentence of mass shooter Nathan Dunlap.
Dunlap is the infamous killer who shot 5 and killed 4 at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. He was angered over being fired, and Denver Magazine 5280 reports that Dunlap was at his girlfriend’s apartment having sex with her when the police tracked him down “only…a few hours” after the shootings.
Dunlap was sentenced to death but when the date for his execution came up in 2013, Hickenlooper granted a “temporary reprieve.” The National Journal reported that he chose this action as a way to pass the buck on taking a firm stand on the death penalty. Families of the victims gunned down by Dunlap were heartbroken and outraged.
The Journal also pointed out that Hickenlooper has since indicated he could further his action — changing it to full clemency — should Coloradans elect Republican Bob Beauprez instead of him in November.
In August, Complete Colorado published audio of Hickenlooper telling a CNN interviewer that if his gubernatorial opponent ran and won on a platform of enforcing the death penalty there are still things “a governor can [do]” with the time that remains. Things he can do in the “period of time between the election…and the end of the year.”
When pressed to explain this statement, Hickenlooper said that if his Republican opponent wins in November, “there obviously remedies that the governor can do, you know, I could give it full clemency between election day and the end of the year.”
He said would have “a number of different opportunities” to be sure Dunlap wasn’t executed.
Dunlap shot five victims in 1993 after being fired from his job at Chuck E. Cheese, killing four. All of his victims were white, while Dunlap is black.
Gov. Hickenlooper felt no qualms about punishing law-abiding Coloradans with gun control over the attacks on the Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary, although law-abiding Coloradans played no part in either attack. But when face-to-face with carrying out the sentence against a criminal convicted of a mass shooting in 1993, Hickenlooper balked and suggested he will go so far as to grant full clemency to the shooter if the people of Colorado vote for someone else in November.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com.