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PANEL REQUIRES KILLER TO SERVE FULL SENTENCE

SHARE PANEL REQUIRES KILLER TO SERVE FULL SENTENCE

David Nelson Thacker may have received leniency from a judge, but he got none from the state's Board of Pardons and Parole.

Tuesday, the board decided Thacker will serve every bit of his six-year sentence, which expires May 19, 2000. Thacker admitted shooting Douglas Koehler in 1993 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.Koehler's body was found in a parking lot near ParkWest ski resort. He was shot once between the eyes, and his hands were still in his pockets.

Thacker and another man, Clint Crane, met Koehler, 31, at a ParkWest bar on Aug. 22, 1993. The three men drank and used cocaine that same evening. Thacker and Koehler later went into a bedroom together. Thacker said he fell asleep and woke up to find Koehler performing a sex act on him, but prosecutors argued that there was some consensual sexual activity.

At some point, Thacker kicked Koehler out of his apartment, then took a shower, grabbed a gun and decided to "hunt down" Koehler about 45 minutes later. Koehler had walked about four miles when Thacker and Crane caught up with him.

Thacker called Koehler over to the truck and shot him once. Judge David Young sentenced Thacker to prison on a zero-to-five-year sentence with a one-year firearms enhancement. Young said one to 15 years, the normal penalty for manslaughter, was "too high a penalty." The judge was heavily criticized by gay activists and Koehler's family for the decision.

Koehler's family couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

While the board noted that Thacker has been involved in prison programming and has work opportunities, they opted not to release him early because of the seriousness of the offense.

A rationale sheet, filled out by board member Don Blanchard, said Thacker demonstrated "extreme cruelty or depravity."