Denver, Colo. — Today candidate for governor Bob Beauprez responded to comments made by John Hickenlooper to Fox 31’s Eli Stokols where Hickenlooper stated he is against the death penalty, but offered no further resolution to the families of Nathan Dunlap’s victims.

“The issue of capital punishment is a difficult one that we wrestle with as a society. That’s why it’s hard to understand John Hickenlooper’s actions in light of these new statements,” Beauprez said. If he truly does oppose the death penalty, he should have commuted Nathan Dunlap’s sentence instead of leaving the decision to the next governor. As Colorado’s next governor, I will see that justice is served.

“Most troubling in John Hickenlooper’s statement is his disregard for the impact his comments have on the families of those slain by Nathan Dunlap. These families have waited decades for justice, and today we hear more words and no action that brings them closure to the horrific events of December 14, 1993.”

Background:

Here’s a timeline of John Hickenlooper’s flip flops on the death penalty:

2010:

“When Hickenlooper ran for office in 2010, he answered a Denver Post question about whether the death penalty should be repealed by saying, ‘No, but it should be restricted.’”

(Kurtis Lee and Lynn Bartels, “Hickenlooper hints at veto of lawmakers’ death-penalty repeal bill,” The Denver Post, March 20, 2013)

December 12, 2012:

“Highlights from Wednesday Associated Press interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper.

—On where he stands on repealing the death penalty, if legislation comes up:

“‘I wrestle with this, right now, on a pretty much daily basis because we are in a position where we have a couple of death row inmates that are going to come up and I haven’t come to a conclusion.’”

(“Excerpts from AP Hickenlooper Interview,” The Associated Press, December 13, 2013)

March 19, 2013:

“Gov. John Hickenlooper has let his fellow Democrats know he has issues with a bill that allows lawmakers to repeal Colorado’s death penalty, mentioning a ‘veto’ as the sponsors say they have the votes to get it passed…

“Another Democrat, who asked not to be identified, said Hickenlooper told the caucus, ‘There are some things we’re going to have to disagree on … and those things we disagree on I’ll have to veto.’”

(Kurtis Lee and Lynn Bartels, “Hickenlooper hints at veto of lawmakers’ death-penalty repeal bill,” The Denver Post, March 20, 2013)

May 22, 2013:

From The Denver Post:

“Faced with a decision to allow the execution of killer Nathan Dunlap or grant him clemency, Gov. John Hickenlooper chose to do neither. Instead, he granted an extraordinary ‘temporary reprieve’ that likely means Dunlap won’t face execution as long as Hickenlooper is governor…

“‘Colorado’s system of capital punishment is imperfect and inherently inequitable,’ Hickenlooper said after announcing the reprieve. ‘Such a level of punishment really does demand perfection.’”

(Karen Augé and Lynn Bartels, “Nathan Dunlap granted “temporary reprieve” by governor,” The Denver Post, May 22, 2013)

From 7News:

Commentator: Are you against it?

Hickenlooper: Yeah, I don’t think that there’s a benefit from it…

Commentator: One of the people at the news conference today was Stan Garnett, the Boulder County D.A., who has said that he would support a repeal of the death penalty. Would you?

Hickenlooper: Yeah, I think I would.

(“Raw interview with Governor Hickenlooper about reprieve decision,” 7News, May 22, 2013)

August 17, 2014

Stokols: So given all that, I know in 2010 during the debate – our debate – you said you’re pro death penalty. If that question comes up again this time, has your stance changed, are you officially anti death penalty now?

Hickenlooper: Yeah, I think that, I mean this is one of those weird things, my whole life I was in favor of the death penalty. You know, when Nathan Dunlap was being tried, it was a couple years after we had opened the Wynkoop and our new restaurant was like a family. I mean, we watched it on TV, and we all, in my memory, everyone I think but one person felt that he should be executed without question. But then you get all this information, right, that it costs, you know ten times maybe fifteen times more money to execute someone than it does just to put them in life in prison without parole. But once they go into life in prison without parole, they’re there forever. There’s no deterrence to having capital punishment. You know, I don’t know about you, when I get new facts, right, I change my opinion. I didn’t know all this stuff and I think, you know, there might be legitimate reasons why the U.S. – there’s not a single country in Europe or South America or Mexico or Israel or Australia – none of these countries support the death penalty anymore and there are good reasons for it.

(“Tough Choices for the Governor,” KDVR, August 17, 2014).

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