Nathan Dunlap: Mom of victim Ben Grant latest to call for killer to die

Page 2 of 5

As we've reported, Dunlap, who had been fired from his job at the restaurant, arrived at his former workplace and shot five people: Margaret Kohlberg, fifty, Sylvia Crowell, nineteen, Ben Grant and Colleen O'Conner, both seventeen, and Bobby Stephens, twenty. Only Stephens survived, but he suffered terrible injuries.

Dunlap was arrested within hours of the shootings and convicted in 1996, with the jury opting for capital punishment. He's been on death row ever since, but earlier this month, his execution date was finally set for the week of August 18-24.

Within days of that development, Dunlap's representatives formally submitted a clemency request to Hickenlooper. Arguments made for changing his sentence from death to life without the possibility of parole include mental issues that were't properly diagnosed or treated until 2006. The document, which is on view below in its entirety, maintains that three of the jurors who voted for death wouldn't have done so had they known about his condition.

The aforementioned letter-writer, who's chosen to remain anonymous, doesn't buy that. Now a nurse, she says Dunlap never showed symptoms associated with the sort of bipolar disorder from which he's said to have suffered during the time of their acquaintance. In her view, only death can extinguish the evil within him.

A similar theme is struck by Sandi Rogers, the mother of Ben Grant. Her statement, like the letter, was shared by the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office, which continues to ratchet up the pressure on Hickenlooper to let the execution take place.

According to the DA's office, Rogers "begs" Hickenlooper to "sit back, make no decision, allow the one that twelve people made after listening to all the evidence seventeen years ago stand.

"I wish you could have met my son, listened to all of the things said about him after this act of planned murder, the amount of love that flowed," she continues, adding, "I honestly think if (you) had been there, you would have no doubt the decision for death."

Here's a photo of Ben Grant, followed by our previous coverage.

Continue for our previous coverage of Nathan Dunlap's clemency bid and responses from a massacre survivor, including photos and more.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts