Dave Conner, Assistant U.S. Attorney And Career Prosecutor, Dies Peacefully At Home After 15-Year Fight With Cancer
DENVER -- It is with profound sadness that U.S. Attorney John Walsh announces that Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Conner passed away yesterday following a prolonged illness. Dave passed away peacefully at his home yesterday afternoon, after battling cancer for over fifteen years. Dave worked up until the day of his death.
"Dave Conner was no ordinary prosecutor. Over thirty-two years of service in the state and federal courts, he dedicated his heart and soul to the pursuit of justice,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Dave’s skill, integrity and fierce commitment to fairness made him a legend among prosecutors, law enforcement and defense attorneys alike. He was a living, breathing model that prosecutors should aspire to, and a teacher of generations of young prosecutors, in both word and deed. We will miss Dave terribly, but the chords sounded by his memory will forever link our hearts to him and to what he stood for.”
Dave started his career as a prosecutor working as a Deputy District Attorney in Denver in March of 1982. While in the Denver DA’s Office, Dave was promoted to Chief Deputy District Attorney. He then left the Denver District Attorney’s Office to become an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1988. He left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1996 to work as a Federal Public Defender, and four years later returned to the U.S. Attorney's Office, where he served in the Major Crimes Section in charge of violent crimes, including bank robberies. Dave worked closely with a variety of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI led Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force. There he worked with both Special Agents from the FBI and state and local police officers assigned to the task force.
Dave obtained his Bachelor’s Degree with honors from Dartmouth College. Following his undergraduate study, Dave attended the University of Denver College of Law, where he earned his law degree, again with honors. Dave started his career as a newspaper reporter in Kirksville, Missouri. He clerked at the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and was an associate at Davis, Graham & Stubbs prior to his government service.
Dave was active in the Smoky Hill United Methodist Church. He was an avid student of history, especially American history, Abraham Lincoln and the West. Dave had a near photographic memory. He could quote from many closing arguments that he had seen even when the prosecutor who tried the case could barely recall the case. His memory of court cases, biblical passages and the lines of old Western movies served him well in the courtroom and were always entertaining to his colleagues. Dave was an icon in the prosecution community. He was always a fierce advocate for justice and for all of his friends and family.
As a Deputy and Chief Deputy District Attorney in Denver, Dave prosecuted a number of high profile cases, including the Masonic Temple arson as well as the Michael Alexis homicide. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Dave prosecuted Forest Service employee Terry Barton, who was responsible for starting the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildland fires in Colorado history. He also prosecuted individuals who kidnapped an executive of a bank in La Junta in an attempt to take all of the bank's money in the vault. The lead defendant in that case received a prison sentence of over 1,000 years.
Dave leaves behind his wife, Teri Dahn, a son, Gavin Conner, who serves as a Denver firefighter, and a daughter, Ashton Conner, who works at Kaplan University in Southern California.
Service information is pending.