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Hickenlooper Opens Door To Reprieve For Murderer Nathan Dunlap

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Nathan Dunlap (credit: Colorado Governor's Office)

Nathan Dunlap (credit: Colorado Governor’s Office)

DENVER (AP) - Gov. John Hickenlooper suggested in a yet-unaired CNN interview that he could permanently end the death sentence of a multiple murderer on death row should he lose his re-election campaign because he gave the inmate a temporary reprieve from execution.

Hickenlooper made in the comments in an interview for a CNN series on the death penalty that is due to air sometime in September. But the conservative website Complete Colorado obtained an audio recording of the 45-minute interview and posted it over the weekend. In it, the Democratic governor expresses disgust that Republicans were considering making Nathan Dunlap a “political football.”

Should he lose, Hickenlooper said, “there are obviously remedies that the governor can do, you know. I could give it a full clemency between election day and the end of the year… There are a number of different opportunities to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Republicans have hammered the governor for more than a year for the decision. Hickenlooper’s opponent, former Rep. Bob Beauprez, released an online ad Monday afternoon highlighting the governor’s comments. Polls have shown the two men effectively tied in the race.

Kathy Green, a spokeswoman for the governor, said he was only speaking hypothetically.

“The Governor has no plans to revisit this decision in this case,” Green said in a statement. “In this interview and in response to that specific line of hypothetical questioning, he is discussing the legal options that are provided in the state’s constitution.”

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