David Isberg: Inmate seeks reprieve from his "death sentence," too

Categories: News, Prisons

David Isberg.
Governor John Hickenlooper confounded death-penalty advocates and opponents alike last month when he granted a reprieve but not clemency to Nathan Dunlap, who'd been scheduled for execution in August for the 1993 murders of four people. Now David Isberg is hoping the governor will intervene to prevent another "death sentence" -- the one he's facing in six months or less after being denied critical medical treatment because of his status as an inmate in Colorado's prison system.

Like Dunlap, Isberg has a bipolar condition and a history of erratic behavior. Unlike Dunlap, Isberg has never killed anyone. Yet his family and supporters say he's battling a life-or-death situation that gets more urgent with every passing day -- and can only be addressed by either a reduction in sentence or executive clemency from Hickenlooper.

But can Hick muster as much interest in Isberg's strange case as he did in the legal and moral quandaries involved in the execution of the Chuck E. Cheese killer?

A graphic from our 2007 feature about David Isberg.
Back in 2007 former Westword writer Naomi Zeveloff reported on Isberg, who'd been convicted of marijuana possession and then diagnosed with bladder cancer, in a story on the lack of health care for prisoners once they move to halfway houses. Since that time, Isberg has beaten the cancer into remission -- only to pick up more health problems and more serious charges.

Last year, Isberg learned that he has T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He received chemotherapy, achieved remission, then relapsed -- and now is receiving chemo treatment again. His chief hope for survival beyond the six-month window doctors have now given him is a bone marrow transplant. That treatment is by no means a sure thing; however, Isberg has four siblings, each of whom has a 30 percent chance of being a potential donor.

But a letter from one of his physicians at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers explains that the doctor in charge of his case "feels that Mr. Isberg is not and will never be a candidate for transplantation, even if he does achieve a second remission, because his position as a prisoner in jail makes it unsafe for him to go through the procedure."

By unsafe, the doctor adds, he means that an inmate lacks the "adequate social support" a transplant patient needs. That social support is unlikely to materialize any time soon -- not as long as Isberg, currently confined to a prison infirmary, is serving 32 years for robbery.

Continue for more about the David Isberg case.

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I'm going to go rob a bank and if I get caught, D.O.C. MUST BUY ME A NEW LEG ! They can pick up one for 'only' $55,000.00 ! 

Of course the SOLE reason I would rob is for 'lack of medical care' .


The '$1,000.00 in the bank', came AFTER his arrest in the form of an S.S.D.I. direct deposit . I've done a little sniffing and this INMATE does NOT deserve a medical-waiver/pardon by the Gov . There ARE other inmates FAR more deserving . Would you want him moving in next door to you ? 

I'm on MASSIVE amounts of opiates & have been for over a dozen years . I can count on one hand the number of times I was stupid enough or ROBBED, & was out of my meds . NEVER did it cross my mind to 'hold-up' anyone or business . I'D GO SEE MY DOCTOR !

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Behold what is accepted as Mental Health Care in the U$A -- ignore the condition until it becomes untreatable, then apply "Prison Therapy"for life.

How's that working out for you America?


They 'claim' an audit when actually all they are doing is their REGULAR jobs . They are pointing fingers at  'Time-Comp' , YET go on ignoring ALL lawsuits directed towards that dept of the system ! If D.O.C. WANTED IT FIXED, it would have been done already .

Just so long as they continue providing a SAFE, religious, environment for their beloved sex-offenders !!! 


I'm SURE someone has explained how parole eligibility works in this state . I'll do it briefly because it appears many are still confused & this is something EVERY citizen SHOULD know .

To begin, the inmate is ACTUALLY given TWO sentences to complete.Example, a person can receive a 4 year sentence WITH 4 years of parole .  An inmate becomes parole 'ELIGIBLE' once 1/2 of the 1st sentence has been served . This is known as a 'P.E.D.',(Parole Eligibility Date), and LESS than %.08 of the state's offenders receive this 'early' EARNED, release . Instead, they fulfill the first portion of the sentence to RECEIVE parole at their M.R.D. . (Maximum Release Date) . It's at this time, the person by law, MUST BE RELEASED to begin the 2nd phase of the sentencing referred to as 'Parole' . If this resembles dbl jeopardy to you, that's because it absolutely IS & has been BEYOND abused by the state for it's need of cheap inmate labor ! Several class action suits are PENDING , but ........, you know where prisoners place on the state's 'Must Do List' falls ? Dead last !

Does this average citizen KNOW owners of the businesses which benefit from next to NOTHING labor ?

Look no farther than a past few Governors . (Owens & Ritter to get the slower ones started .) 7 & 9 news BOTH reported the 'system' is being audited . ALL THEY ARE DOING IS GOING OVER TIME-COMP !

They WANT the public to believe they are doing something 'different' to avoid 'mistakes' . They are auditing 'themselves' ! Am I the only one who sees something wrong w/ this picture ?

The ENTIRE system from TOP to BOTTOM, NEEDS MORE than an auditing ! Criminal charges in many cases and situations are more than appropriate !

Colorado's legal system to the nation = That of the U.S.A.'s to the rest of the world ....


M.R.D. is Mandatory Release Date .

Same difference ......


I have no sympathy for the cdoc staff...I too know too well the average psychotic "C O's" true nature. The wagers they take on regarding who will or won't get wrecked. The female ones sit and fantasize sexually dominating inmates.....how much does a cell phone run inside these days? It all makes the 20 dollar Marlboro cigarette not from someone's ass.....worth it. FUCK THE POLICE

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