January will be tried as an adult for the crime, which is thought to have concluded an escalating series of crimes, including the beating of an elderly woman. Could the killings have been prevented had the police responded to an alarm? Details below.
A Facebook page "celebrating the life, love and laughter of Whitney Butler and David Dunlap" includes the following photo.......and some very poignant memories, like this one:
My dearest Whitney Butler -- I struggle to find the words. I feel bad I hadn't seen or talked to you recently, but I was so happy to talk to you when I found out you were going to be married. I wish in retrospect I had found the time and money to come to your wedding, or to visit you more often. VA Beach is only a mere 4 hours away, but life always got in the way. You were one of my closest friends at Hollins and I always think of you when I remember our days there. I know if you were still alive today that we'd pick up right where we left off and laugh like we always did. Regardless of anything, I hope you know how much I loved you and valued our friendship. I miss you friend.A fundraising campaign in David's memory, with proceeds going to the American Belgian Malinois Club Charitable Trust -- he was a Fort Carson soldier who loved this breed of dog -- notes that the couple married on September 22, 2012, meaning they were relative newlyweds when their lives were abruptly taken. What happened? On the morning of January 14, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Dunlap and Butler were informed by their security company about a burglar alarm that had been triggered at their home. They headed there separately -- and both were killed as they walked in the door.
Evidence presented at the hearing about whether January should be tried as an adult suggests that Dunlap was gunned down first, from behind. Butler arrived shortly thereafter. She appears to have been kneeling over Dunlap's body when she was shot in the head.Regarding that alarm: A previous Gazette piece points out that the Colorado Springs Police Department was alerted to it 45 minutes before a neighbor heard gunfire at the home, but officers didn't respond. Why not? The answer suggested at a February hearing is that the department receives approximately 5,000 such reports about alarms per annum, with a hefty percentage of them turning out to be false alarms.
Which this one most certainly was not.
January was arrested for the crime in short order -- and it wasn't his first time in cuffs. A reported victim of abuse and neglect during his formative years, he's been in and out of trouble since at least the age of fourteen, and he's suspected of having been behind perhaps as many as twenty burglaries prior to the slaying of Butler and Dunlap. Moreover, at least a couple of the break-ins were marked by violence, with a 71-year-old woman having been robbed and beaten twice over the span of a few short months. A fifteen-year-old girl home sick from school was also roughed up in a separate incident.
Oh yeah: In a Department of Youth Corrections questionnaire filled out by January and cited at this week's hearing, he allegedly wrote that he wouldn't have a problem committing murder if he "could get away with it."
That's a long shot now. January can't face the death penalty owing to his age, but should he be found guilty of killing Butler and Dunlap, he could be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Here's a larger look at his booking photo.
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Lonnie White, seventeen, to be charged as adult in Reysean Abram on-bike murder (14)."