Man killed by Englewood Police convicted in ’97 hate crime murder

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The man shot and killed by police outside a Walgreen’s Thursday evening was a notorious white supremacist who served prison time for his involvement in the murder of a West African immigrant, FOX31 Denver has learned.

Jeremiah Barnum, 38, along with a friend and co-worker Nathan Thill, were originally convicted of first degree murder and attempted murder in 1999 for the slaying of Omar Dia.

Dia, who was black, was shot to death at 17th and Welton St. in Denver in Nov. 1997 in what prosecutors described as an unprovoked hate crime.

A witness, Jeannie Van Velkinburgh, was wounded.

A judge later granted Barnum a new trial. However, instead of re-trying the case, the Denver District Attorney’s Office reached a plea agreement that allowed Barnum to plead guilty to accessory after the fact.

In 2002, Barnum received the maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. He was released three or four years ago, according to his former attorney Peter Bornstein, but went back to prison when his parole was revoked.

He was recently re-released.

Thill, the confessed triggerman in the Dia murder, is serving a life prison term.

On Thursday evening, police say Barnum pulled up to the scene of a stolen car traffic stop at Broadway and Dartmouth in a white Mustang.

Englewood Police spokesman Brad Johnson says Barnum “backed up like he was going to take a run” at them in the car, but instead, he “made a move like he was reaching for a gun.” That’s when an officer shot and killed him.

Johnson says Barnum did not shoot, but investigators did find a gun in his car.