Slamming the Door on Kerry Dore

A construction worker faces 32 years in prison after a hostage incident at Focus on the Family.

The pain-ridden journey of a disabled construction worker who took four people hostage last year at Focus on the Family's headquarters in Colorado Springs came to an end last week. An El Paso County jury convicted Kerry Dore on thirteen felony counts, including first-degree kidnapping.

Dore now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years in prison for the incident, during which he wielded a loaded pistol and threatened to blow up the religious group's building off Briargate Boulevard. The hostages were eventually released without physical harm, although one woman told Westword that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kerry Dore is now in the El Paso County Jail awaiting his February 5 sentencing. "He's just spinning his wheels until they sentence him," says his brother, Kevin Dore. According to family members, Kerry Dore, who suffers from constant pain, has also had trouble getting his prescription medication from prison officials.

"People get less than 32 years for murder," says Kevin Dore. "I just hate to think he's wrapped up in there for 30 years. I know he won't make it, and they don't care."

Kevin Dore believes his brother did not get a fair trial in Colorado Springs, where Focus on the Family employs hundreds of people and has great political influence. "He tried to get a change of venue, but that whole county is tainted," says Kevin. "It's a pretty conservative county. I thought maybe they'd be able to understand him, but they didn't."

In court filings, El Paso County prosecutors rejected claims by Dore's attorneys that the trial should be moved, arguing that there was no reason to believe local jurors couldn't be impartial. Prosecutors did not return phone calls seeking comment after the verdict was delivered.

Kerry Dore, 44, was injured while working on the construction of the Focus on the Family headquarters building in 1992 ("Out of Focus," October 9). He slipped and fell on a twelve-inch iron rod, which penetrated his buttocks and colon, narrowly missed his spine and punctured his bladder. After three surgeries, Dore was left in constant pain and lapsed into depression. Because he was working on a non-union job, he wound up fighting continuously on his own against his employer's insurance company, which used Colorado's employer-friendly workers' compensation law to challenge his disability claims.

Dore told Westword that he stormed into the Focus building with a .380 semiautomatic handgun in order to highlight the organization's failure to help him or his children following the accident. The group sent Dore flowers, and a minister visited him briefly in the hospital, but FOF rejected Dore's request for financial assistance.

At his trial, Dore claimed that his intent was to commit suicide and that he never meant to harm any of the hostages.

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