Where Colorado’s Governor Candidates Stand On Nathan Dunlap And The Death Penalty

· Nov. 2, 2018, 8:00 pm
Photo: Nathan Dunlap Case | Court Appearence - APThe Denver Post, Helen H. Richardson/Pool via The AP
Nathan Dunlap appears for a hearing at Arapahoe County Court in Centennial, Colo., May 1, 2013.

There’s a lot at stake in the race to be Colorado’s next governor, but for one man it’s a literal life and death question.

Nathan Dunlap was sentenced to be executed for killing four people at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant in 1993. When the moment came, Gov. John Hickenlooper halted his execution to give him a temporary reprieve in 2013 — but didn’t grant Dunlap clemency. He left it to the next governor to ultimately decide Dunlap’s fate.

Democrat Congressman Jared Polis and Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton have staked out opposite positions on the overall issue. Polis told the Colorado Independent he would sign a bill to repeal the death penalty in Colorado, calling it outdated, ineffective and costly. Stapleton supports the death penalty.

In their final debate, moderated by The Denver Post and Channel 7 both discussed how they would handle the Dunlap case.

Polis: “I have no problem following the current law. I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on a specific case when what I would do as governor is review the case, talk to the victims, make an informed decision. I don’t think it’s a type of decision, literally a life and death decision, that should be politicized during a campaign.”

Stapleton: “I don’t believe it’s the role of the governor to re-adjudicate something that’s been decided by a judge and a jury. It’s something that I would have to do with a heavy heart. But I would have a period of time that would study the most effective means of carrying out something that’s already been decided by a judge and a jury and shouldn’t be re-adjudicated by a governor.”

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