Nathan Dunlap or number 89148: Was Hickenlooper right not to use killer's name?

nathan.dunlap.screen.capture.205x205.jpg
Nathan Dunlap.
When Governor John Hickenlooper announced yesterday that he's offering a reprieve to Nathan Dunlap, who was convicted in 1996 of killing four people at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, he never uttered Dunlap's name. Instead, he chose to call him "offender number 89148," reasoning that he'd already gotten enough notoriety for his terrible acts.

We previously tackled the subject of whether or not to name murderers and show their photos in a story about James Holmes, the alleged Aurora theater shooter.

Unlike many alleged mass murderers, including the teens responsible for the massacre at Columbine High School, Holmes survived to be arrested and tried in court. Media outlets, including Westword, have been covering every step of the case -- and as a result, stories about the alleged killer appear in the news more often than some readers and victims would like. There have been repeated calls for the media to forgo using his name and photo so as not to make him famous.

Several local media outlets have tried to strike a balance. They may use Holmes's name and photo in stories about the latest developments in his court case but not in stories about victims. At Westword, our policy is that if we're writing about someone accused of a crime, we use his or her name because it's part of the historic record.

Was Hickenlooper right to omit using Dunlap's name -- a move that was not followed by local media outlets? When it comes to news stories, is Dunlap's case different than Holmes's case? Read our previous story, "Should the media forgo using killers' names and photos?," and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Video shows Evan Ebel shooting Texas deputy."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com



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33 comments
skibunny
skibunny

Its about time for this guy to go, enough is enough!!!!

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

How many black men in America actually go by their 'christian' name anyways ? 

.%.o5 , maybe ???

Almost ALL have slang or nicknames & RARELY does ANYONE know the others actual true names ...

Except of course for the ever convenient 'N' word .

Nigger is defined as friend, in the 'Ebonics Dictionary' , and 'cracker' isn't a food item ....

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Makes singing 'Happy Birthday' a REAL bitch .......

"Happy B-Day number 89148....."

What would that look like on a cake in Roman numerals ?

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

To the world, Nathan Dunlap IS known as #89148 .

A number incapable of life w/o death ....

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Hickenlooper is nearly worthless. Very nearly.

Nandrolone
Nandrolone

Whether Hickenlooper used his name or his inmate number does not matter. I am sure he did not use Dunlap's name out of request and respect for victims wishes. I personally think it is ridiculous. "A rose by any other name smells just as sweet" ~Shakespeare: call him by proper name, call him a derogatory name, issue him a number and call the number to attempt to what dehumanize? Cannot be done. Call him whatever and the story is the same the name only changes. Why alter the truth? How can that make people feel better? If it does so, it is only temporary relief. and will wake up to the same headache some other day...

Sean Owens
Sean Owens

Fuck his name kill him already. Taxpayers have paid too much to keep him alive. Death penalty should be immediate.

Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams

he was in the right to use his number... at the same time D.P. is not giving to just anyone that is a penalty that is hard earned, he should have let it ride.... at the same time i understand his point 2... hard to know you are the last person in line to say kill someone i wouldn't want that burden

Tim Strodtman
Tim Strodtman

I agree and support that part of the speech. But he should have made the decision to end this ordeal.

Vance Weirick
Vance Weirick

What we also forget is that he is also the only person in Colorado history that's been on Death Row the longest. Everyone one is right this person needs to die I am disappointed in what he did. I have thought about this all night he had his reasons to let this person to live. We as citizens of Colorado we need to remember how hard it would sign the paper work to put someone to death. I thought I about it and I don't think I would be able to sign the paper work so what we need to remember he is a person that has to deal with a lot of problems in the state. We have to live with his choices that he makes. Governor I do wish that he would had put him to death.

Julie Miller
Julie Miller

I am so angry at the Governor of the State of Colorado. Twenty years ago, Nathan Dunlap killed 4 people in cold blood at a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers. Governor Hickenlooper made a choice to "delay" the execution of this piece of scum, a choice to not follow the decisions made, a choice to place his own beliefs in front of those of the people in the State of Colorado, and the families of the victims. Hickenlooper, I want you to know now that I will do everything in my power to make sure that YOU ARE DONE practicing politics in my state. The people of Colorado spoke, and you don't listen, you are in ELECTED OFFICIAL, you answer to the PEOPLE, you don't get to make up the laws as you go along, you're starting to act and sound like the idiot running our country.

Alex Miklin
Alex Miklin

Word on the street is that he is an idiot.

Eric Koder
Eric Koder

I think he referred to him properly.

Bree Miller
Bree Miller

the only names that should be said and remembered are the victims'

Barbara Hoskinson
Barbara Hoskinson

No, I am not happy with him taking away the verdict that was given to this killer. He deserves the DP

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Sean Owens  <---- Has paid her taxes so the county and state CAN afford to execute #89148, and has NO reason to question 'WHY' it costs so f'n much OR is the state feeding everyone a line of shit ?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Sean Owens ... perhaps you'd be happier living in Syria.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Tim Strodtman  ... by issuing a full commutation.

Nandrolone
Nandrolone

@Vance Weirick so you admit you would not sign the paperwork but that you wish Hick did?

Nandrolone
Nandrolone

@Julie Miller With all due respect ma'am Dunlap was not convicted by a "jury of his peers", no defendant is. Furthermore, some on the panel have already announced publicly had they known ALL of the info they would not have chosen DP. This is the same thing the DA is trying to do with the Holmes trial. Just because your view is not at the moment represented Hick did NOT place "his own beliefs in front of those of the people" there are thousands in CO who agree, millions in the USA and billions in the WORLD that do not believe in capital punishment. Hick is using his authority of law to challenge laws that are not in accordance with "natural", organic law of humanity...

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Julie Miller Passionate post, Julie. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Dan Brown Succintctly put, Dan. Thanks.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Bree Miller Eloquent post, Bree. Thanks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Barbara Hoskinson ... you make the baby Jesus cry.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@DonkeyHotay @Nandrolone  

A hypocritical christian ?

Next you're going to tell me priests molest little boys ?...

The nerve ! 

 I'm returning to Fox News & the Denver Post !

They understand %95 of the population can't or are too lazy to think for themselves ! They care so MUCH for us all , we need not worry .

Ask anyone who 'talks' w/ Jesus & they'll agree !

You Satan loving, tree hugging, Michael Roberts readin', SINNERS !

Nandrolone
Nandrolone

@DonkeyHotay @michael.roberts don't make me laugh, please. this is serious stuff...been meaning to ask you Donkey do you do stand up comedy? I have a feeling you would be great at it, with ur KA nawl EDge n wit! :o

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