Governor John Hickenlooper has announced that he officially opposes the death penalty just a few months before Election Day, when Coloradans will choose between Hickenlooper and his Republican challenger former Congressman Bob Beauprez.
Hickenlooper got some flack, particularly from Republicans, when he decided to indefinitely delay the execution of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap instead of approving the use of the death penalty or converting the sentence to life in prison.
“When I met with the families of the victims almost half of them didn’t want to have an execution,” said Hickenlooper. “They felt that their ability to forgive this person who had killed their sister or their son would be compromised if we executed him.”
Beauprez weighed in shortly after Hickenlooper made his statements, saying that if the Governor truly opposed the death penalty he should have commuted Dunlap’s sentence.
“When I am governor, I will execute Nathan Dunlap,” Beauprez said at a Republican primary candidate debate in May.
Hickenlooper acknowledged that the decision to indefinitely delay the execution was a tough and unpopular one, but he said he stands by it, because of how expensive the death penalty is and due to lingering doubts about its overall efficacy.
“It costs ten times, maybe fifteen times more to execute someone than to put them in life in prison with out parole,” said Hickenlooper. “[T]here’s no deterrence to having capital punishment. I don’t know about you, but when I get new facts, I’ll change my opinion.”
See the full clip of Hickenlooper’s interview with Fox 31’s Eli Stokols here:
[Photo of Hickenlooper via campaign Flickr]