Convicted killer Nathan Dunlap: death penalty or clemency? Governor John Hickenlooper decides soon

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper could announce Tuesday whether convicted killer Nathan Dunlap will be executed or will be given clemency.

The CALL7 Investigators have learned that the governor cleared his scheduled for today.

The Denver Post is reporting that Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has heard the governor could make his decision as soon as today. Brauchler has scheduled a news conference at the Capitol today.

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. One person survived the shooting.

Dunlap had recently been fired from the restaurant.

Dunlap is scheduled for execution the week of August 18. Dunlap's defense team made a video and sent a letter to the governor asking for clemency.

"I don't feel I have the right to ask for clemency. I mean, how can I ask for life or anything when I took so much and disregarded the pain I was going to inflict?" he tells the governor. "However, I ask that you consider granting me clemency. If possible, I'd like to spare my family and friends from the same pain that I caused the victims' families and Bobby Stephens and his family and friends."

Hickenlooper has spoken with prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims and their families about Dunlap's request for clemency.

Dunlap has been on death row since 1996, when a jury convicted him.

"I realize this is a privilege of the office of Governor, but it is something that is really, it’s a last-ditch thing," said Marj Crowell, whose daughter Sylvia was killed in the shooting. "Dunlap’s case was proved in court."

Since Colorado reinstituted the death penalty, only one person has been executed. Gary Lee Davis was executed in 1997.

"[The] Governor needs to step out of the way," Crowell said, "Step back and do what he really should do, and let the execution proceed."

Hickenlooper could decide to grant clemency, deny it or simply ignore the request and allow the execution plans to continue without his input.

"Any notion that you would somehow be overruling a jury by granting clemency is misguided. Your role in this process is equal to theirs. Only a governor can consider all that has happened since the trial and the larger issues of statewide application… of the death penalty,"  former Pueblo County district attorney Bill Thiebaut wrote.

Dunlap is one of three men on death row in Colorado. The others are Sir Mario Owens and Robery Ray. They were convicted and sentenced to death for their roles in the murders of Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe.

The death sentences of at least six other death-row inmates have been thrown out since Dunlap was sentenced, according to the Associated Press.

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