"Nathan Dunlap granted temporary reprieve by Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper," is by Karen Augéand Lynn Bartels for the Denver Post.
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday issued an executive order granting convicted killer Nathan Dunlap a "temporary reprieve" from an execution that had been just three months away.
In an executive order that provides an indefinite stay of execution, Hickenlooper writes that the decision has weighed heavily on him.
He calls Dunlap's crimes "horrendous" — although nowhere in the order does he refer to Dunlap by name — and declares his respect for the jurors who handed down the death sentence.
But more than 15 years have passed since that decision, and those years have provided "the benefit of information that exposes an inequitable system," Hickenlooper's order states.
"It is a legitimate question whether we as a state should be taking lives," the order says. "Because the question is about the use of the death penalty itself, and not about Offender No. 89148, I have opted to grant a reprieve and not clemency in this case."
The executive order will remain in effect until it is modified or rescinded by a future executive order.
Prosecutors and Dunlap's attorneys have each scheduled press statements for Wednesday afternoon.
"Colo governor delays execution of convicted killer," is the AP filing by Dan Elliott.
Hickenlooper said he was granting Dunlap a reprieve, not clemency. Clemency would have changed Dunlap's sentence to life without parole.
Under a reprieve, Dunlap could conceivably be executed one day. The reprieve will stay in force until Hickenlooper or another governor lifts it.
Hickenlooper said Colorado's capital punishment system is flawed, citing a study that showed the death penalty was sought and imposed inconsistently.
He also said the state doesn't have the drugs in place to carry out an execution by lethal injection, and that many states and nations are repealing the death penalty.
Hickenlooper said he granted a reprieve instead of clemency because he saw the question before him as being about the use of the death penalty, not about Dunlap.
Earlier coverage of Nathan Dunlap's case begins at the link.