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Murder Victim's Father Calls Hickenlooper A Coward

DENVER (CBS4) - The father of a murder victim says Gov. John Hickenlooper is a coward because the governor said it's possible he could grant clemency to mass murderer Nathan Dunlap.

"I think that's the coward's way out, and I view John Hickenlooper as a coward," said Bob Crowell, whose daughter Sylvia, 19, was among those killed in the Dec. 14, 1993, slaying of four employees at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.

Sylvia Crowell
Sylvia Crowell (credit: CBS)

Hickenlooper indefinitely delayed Dunlap's execution in May.

According to audio that will air in September as part of a CNN death penalty series, the governor said if he loses the election, he could grant clemency to Dunlap, 38.

The governor said, in part:

"The issue that a political campaign would make a human life into, you know, a political football is unacceptable, right? I think it would backfire tremendously on any candidate that did that. And I think if they did do that, and somehow they won 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."

Crowell chastised the governor for saying his opponents are playing "political football" with the issue.

"Look who's doing it: Hickenlooper," he said, calling the governor's stance "dirty pool."

Bob Beauprez, the governor's Republican opponent, said he will order Dunlap's execution if he's elected.

Hickenlooper's office issued a statement Tuesday that said he considers the issue closed:

"I have no plans to revisit to my decision, no matter what happens in the election. While I am opposed to the death penalty and do not believe the state should be taking lives, I respect that others may feel differently."

Dunlap was sentenced to death in 1996. He also killed Colleen O'Connor, 17, Benjamin Grant, 17, and Marge Kohlberg, 50.

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