Colorado Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, March 06, 2008, 02:33:39 PM

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Execution likely for Aurora Chuck E. Cheese killer after failed appeal
Posted on: 11:00 am, February 19, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nathan Dunlap was sentenced to death for killing four people in an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in 1993. Almost 20 years later, Colorado's longest-serving death-row inmate saw his last, best chance to avoid execution thwarted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That decision came down Tuesday morning, when a list of unsigned orders revealed that Dunlap's case will not be heard by the country's highest court.

This means an execution date can now be set for Dunlap. If it is carried out, it will make the 39-year-old the first inmate to be executed in Colorado since 1995.

In the appeal, Dunlap's attorneys argued their client had been represented in his murder trial by incompetent lawyers who failed to introduce evidence that may have proved Dunlap's mental instability.

Dunlap was just 19 years old when he walked into the Aurora restaurant where he had been fired and killed three of his former co-workers. The victims were restaurant manager Margaret Kohlberg, 50, Slvia Crowell, 19, Ben Grant, 17 and Colleen O'Connor, both 17.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Aurora's Chuck E. Cheese's Killer a Step Closer to Execution

Feb. 20, 2013

The Supreme Court has refused an appeal from so-called Chuck E. Cheese's murderer Nathan Dunlap, opening the door for a Colorado judge to schedule the state's first execution in over 15 years.

The killing of four employes in a Chuck E. Cheese's in 1993 was a massacre that scarred the people of Aurora, Colo., long before shooter James Holmes opened fire in a crowded movie theater on July 20, 2012. Holmes killed 12 and wounded dozens more.

Dunlap, 38, is one of three men on the state's death row. He was sentenced to death in 1996, but the victims' families have been waiting for justice to be carried out for nearly 20 years.

"I don't know if Dunlap is ever going to be executed," Sylvia Crowell, the mother of a victim, told today. "Whether he dies from natural causes or from execution doesn't matter to me, but he better not leave that prison except in a pine box."

The case will now go back to the trial court, which is the Arapahoe District Court, according to Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office. The Arapahoe court would set a date for execution.

Though Dunlap's guaranteed appeals have run out, his attorney could potentially still file a stay, which would give them the opportunity to present a clemency application to Gov. John Hickenlooper. All of the potential steps leave the timeline for a potential execution unclear.

Crowell's 19-year-old daughter Sylvia was killed during the Dec. 14, 1993 shooting. Sylvia was closing the salad bar at closing time when Dunlap, who was also 19 at the time, came up behind her and shot her in the head. He had recently been fired from the restaurant.

He went on to kill Ben Grant, 17, as he cleaned nearby and Colleen O'Connor, 17, who was cleaning the rowdy restaurant's quiet room for adults when Dunlap approached her. She begged for her life, but he showed no mercy. Dunlap also killed the restaurant's 50-year-old manager Margaret Kohlberg.

He also shot Bobby Stephens in the jaw and Stephens, 20 at the time, was the sole survivor.

Dunlap was sentenced to the die, but has been sitting on death row for nearly 20 years as he has moved through the judicial system's lengthy appeals process. The Crowells attended Dunlap's trial and nearly every appeal hearing.

There are currently three inmates on death row in Colorado, which has executed only one prisoner, in 1997, since the death penalty was reinstated in 1984.

"We've been frustrated by this for so long," Crowell, 71, said. "When this whole thing bubbled up, we were told, 'Don't get your hopes up.'"

"I have no idea if any of us will be invited to the execution. I don't know the etiquette," she said. "I have no intentions of going myself. Our son Daryl would like to attend, but I don't regard that as a particularly wise decision."

"We think it would be a grave miscarriage of justice if he left the prison, except dead," she said.

Dunlap's attorney believes that he should spend the rest of his life in prison.

"I can't really discuss what we're going to do next," Dunlap's attorney Phil Cherner told "Mr. Dunlap should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole."

"However, given what we know about the unfair and disproportionate use of capital punishment in Colorado, it really would be unconscionable for the state to carry out his death sentence," he said.

Crowell said that Coloradans refer to the state's tragedies as "the three c's" -- Columbine, Chuck E. Cheese's and the Century 16 movie theater. The Crowells live off a main road less than two miles from the movie theater.

"Every time we hear a siren, we think, 'There goes someone else's day ruined."
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Judge rejects death penalty motion for Florence inmate
Updated: October 31, 2013 at 6:48 am Published: October 31, 2013

DENVER -- U.S. Senior District Judge John Kane has denied a motion from lawyers of a Florence inmate who faces the death penalty to declare the federal death penalty law unconstitutional.

According to the Denver Post ( ), Gary Watland's lawyers argued the sentencing procedures deprive a jury of the ability to make an informed choice between life and death. Defense attorneys contended that jurors sometimes don't understand the instructions given by a judge.

Watland is accused of killing a fellow inmate during a struggle between white supremacist gangs seeking to control the yard at a federal prison in Florence in 2008.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


So when the tard card doesn't work for the defendant, the defense attorney uses the tard card for the jury.  Does anyone else feel insulted? 

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money - Margaret Thatcher
The most terrifying words in the English language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan

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