Court rules Colorado may use lethal injection to execute condemned killer Nathan Dunlap
Last Updated: 224 days ago
DENVER - Condemned killer Nathan Dunlap has lost his bid to challenge the procedure that Colorado will use to execute him.
Dunlap attorneys' argued that the state developed the lethal injection execution procedure without public input. However, the Colorado Court of Appeals sided with the state that argued the lethal injection execution procedure falls under the duties of the prisons director and don't require public input.
Dunlap was a 19-year-old former employee when he walked into a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Aurora in 1993 at closing time and shot five people in the head, before taking $1,500 from a safe. Three teenagers and a mother of two died. (Read more about the victims below.) One person survived the shooting.
Dunlap had recently been fired from the restaurant.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Dunlap's appeal in February. Arapahoe District Judge William Sylvester has scheduled a hearing next week to designate a week in which Dunlap will be executed.
By state law, the designated week must be between 91 and 126 days of the hearing at which the week is chosen. That means the week will likely be between July 31 and September 3. The head of the state Department of Corrections will set the final execution date.
Family members of the victims in the Chuck E. Cheese shooting have told 7NEWS for years that they don't understand why this process has taken so long.
Since Colorado reinstituted the death penalty in 1976, only one person has been executed. Gary Lee Davis was executed in 1997.
-- Chuck E. Cheese victims remembered
The four people who died in that Aurora restaurant during the holidays in 1993 left behind grieving family and friends.
Sylvia Crowell had just graduated from Gateway High School. She got a job at Chuck E. Cheese to help pay for an upcoming church mission and her school expenses. She was going to go to Metro State where she planned to major in psychology.
"She wanted to go and give two years to the Lord for all that she has been blessed with in her life, and she did feel blessed," her family said.
17-year-old Colleen O'Conner was a senior at Eaglecrest High School when she died.
"I think she was a wonderful human being," friends said.
17-year-old Benjamin Grant was a student at Smoky Hill High School. Grant was remembered as a good kid with lots of friends. He was on the school's wrestling team.
Margaret Kohlberg was new to Colorado and to the Chuck E. Cheese company when she was killed. She had just moved to Parker and had taken over as manager of the restaurant. Other employees said even though she was new, Margaret cared about them as though they were her own children.
The lone survivor was 20-year-old Bobby Stephens. He remembered running for his life when he ran out of the restaurant to get help. Stephens had taken the job at the restaurant to make extra money for his wife and seven-month-old son. His wife also worked at the restaurant, but was not working on the night of the shooting.
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