Hickenlooper: Decision on Dunlap death unchanged

DENVER – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper addressed a controversial CNN interview Tuesday during an interview with 9NEWS Anchor Gary Shapiro.

In the as-of-yet unaired CNN interview, which will be part of a special series on death penalty cases, Hickenlooper said he could decide to grant "full clemency" to death row inmate Nathan Dunlap before he leaves office if he's not reelected.

PREVIOUS STORY: Gov's CNN death penalty interview draws fire

Hickenlooper told Shapiro that despite these comments, he has "no intention" to revisit the decision he made in May 2013 giving Dunlap a temporary reprieve.

"You know, Nathan Dunlap's gonna die in prison, one way or the other," Hickenlooper said. "You know, I personally am against the death penalty. I don't think the government should be taking people's lives, but a number of other people disagree. That was why we did a reprieve: to respect that sentiment within the state."

As 9NEWS has explored before, the governor's decision to grant a temporary reprieve to murderer Nathan Dunlap comes with an odd political wrinkle: it essentially puts a man's life up for a vote because the governor's challenger, Republican Bob Beauprez, says he would carry out the execution.

PREVIOUS STORY: Truth Test: GOP's opening break against Hickenlooper

The CNN interview took place before Bob Beauprez even won the GOP primary. The interviewer was particularly interested in this political aspect, referencing (unsuccessful primary candidate) Tom Tancredo's hard line on the death penalty.

The governor was asked how he'd respond to a campaign that ran on a platform of "elect me, I'm going to kill this guy."

"If that becomes a political issue within that context in the campaign," Hickenlooper replied. "Obviously there's a period of time between the election and the end of the year where individuals can make decisions such as the governor can."

On Tuesday, Hickenlooper said he hasn't listened to the CNN interview.

"Well, they were asking whether that's something that's on the table, that's a possibility and I said 'sure, certainly it is,'" he said. "And I haven't listened to the tape, I'm kind of busy being governor."

When Shapiro asked whether the death penalty issue would impact voters, he said it's "not a black-and-white issue" and started talking about job creation instead.

"We went from 40th in job creation to fourth," Hickenlooper said, adding that "there are a lot of issues voters are gonna look at."

When pressed about whether or not he would grant Dunlap clemency in the event his challenger wins the November gubernatorial election, Hickenlooper said "nothing has changed" since he granted Dunlap the reprieve.

"The decision we made back in May of 2013, nothing has changed there," Hickenlooper said. "Nothing in the interview with CNN, nothing in the interviews I've given since then, has changed my mind."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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