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  1. #11
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    Nathan Dunlap, Colorado Death Row Prisoner, Denied Chance To Appeal On Mental Illness Grounds





    Nathan Dunlap, one of three men on Colorado's death row, was denied an appeal of his death sentence Monday. In March his legal team had asked a federal court to overturn the sentence, citing mental illness.

    According to the Denver Post, Dunlap isn't legally entitled to more appeals. His lawyers may request hearings from higher courts, including the U.S. Supreme court, but further appeals will not necessarily delay his execution.

    Nathan Dunlap, 37, was sentenced to death after killing four people at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant 19 years ago. Three of his victims were teenagers and the fourth was a mother of two. At the time of the murders, Dunlap was 19. He has now spent close to half of his life awaiting own execution on death row.

    "Nathan Dunlap is running out of time. This is his last, best chance," defense attorney David Lane--who isn't representing Dunlap--told the Associated Press in March. "If he loses here, his odds of being executed skyrocket."

    Dunlap's attorneys argued that he is mentally ill and that his trial lawyers did not fairly represent him.

    After the jury delivered four guilty verdicts, Dunlap's attorney, Forrest Lewis, reportedly told jurors:

    If you choose to kill my client on the facts of this case, I will respect that. Nathan Dunlap chose to kill. He should be held accountable. He has been held accountable. But you have a choice now, too. Choose life. Not violence. Not killing. But life.



    The last person executed in Colorado was Gary Davis 15 years ago. Davis was also the first Colorado inmate to be executed by lethal injection, rather than the gas chamber.



    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1429680.html
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  2. #12
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Dunlap's petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
    Case Nos.: (10-1424)
    Decision Date: April 16, 2012
    Rehearing Denied: June 18, 2012

    Appeals exhausted
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  3. #13
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    U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear death-penalty appeal of Aurora Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap



    Convicted killer Nathan Dunlap lost his last, best chance to avoid execution Tuesday when the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal.

    Dunlap was sentenced to die for killing four people in 1993 in an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. He is Colorado's longest-serving death-row inmate, and could become the first inmate executed in the state since 1995.

    A list of unsigned orders issued Tuesday morning by the nation's highest court shows that Dunlap's appeal to the court challenging his death sentence — known as a petition for certiorari — was denied. That ends the last appeal Dunlap is guaranteed under the law and clears the way for an execution date to be set.

    Dunlap may file further appeals, but they are not certain to delay execution.

    Reached via e-mail, an attorney for Dunlap declined to comment.

    Dunlap was 19 when he killed four employees of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant where he used to work. Three of the victims were teenagers: 19-year-old Sylvia Crowell and 17-year-olds Ben Grant and Colleen O'Connor. Another, 50-year-old Margaret Kohlberg, was the restaurant's manager. Dunlap also gravely wounded another employee, who was able to escape and find help.

    Police said Dunlap — who has now spent half his life behind bars for the killings-- - was upset over being fired from the restaurant.

    Dunlap was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996, and his sentence subsequently survived a series of appeals at the same time several other Colorado death-row inmates saw their sentences overturned.

    Last year, Dunlap's attorneys argued before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that Dunlap's death sentence should be thrown out because of alleged incompetence by his trial lawyers. Those lawyers, Dunlap's appellate attorneys argued, failed to introduce evidence at his sentencing hearing that Dunlap is mentally ill. The appellate attorneys said that, had jurors heard such evidence, at least one might have refused a death sentence.

    A panel of 10th Circuit judges, though, rejected the argument, saying that Dunlap's trial lawyers did the best job they could with a difficult case.

    Dunlap's ongoing appeals have been difficult for family members of the victims. Before last year's 10th Circuit hearing, Sylvia Crowell's mother, Marj, told The Denver Post that she expected the hearing to be "like salt in the wound."

    "That hurt is still going on," Bob Crowell, Sylvia's father, said then. "And we are somewhat anxious that somebody is going to throw a monkey wrench in there and he is not going to be executed."

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...-death-penalty
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  4. #14
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    Colorado prosecutors studying death penalty law in Nathan Dunlap case

    Arapahoe County prosecutors are still studying how to restart the legal proceedings to execute convicted killer Nathan Dunlap, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the last appeal Dunlap is guaranteed.

    In an e-mailed statement released Thursday, 18th Judicial District Attorney's office spokeswoman Lisa Pinto wrote, "[T]he 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office is currently in consultation with the Attorney General's Office to see which courts have stays of execution on the death warrant.

    "After concluding that inquiry, we will file a motion with the 18th Judicial District District Court asking that the court lift the current stay of execution, issue a warrant and set a week for the execution."

    A spokesman for the court said 18th Judicial District Chief Judge William Sylvester would handle the case. Sylvester is also the judge on the Aurora theater shooting murder case against James Holmes.

    Dunlap killed four people in an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant 19 years ago. Appeals have repeatedly delayed his sentence, and he is now Colorado's longest-serving death-row inmate. But Dunlap moved significantly closer to execution this week when the Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal. That cleared the way for an execution date to be set.

    Dunlap could file additional appeals, but they would not be guaranteed to stall his execution by lethal injection. He may also petition the governor for clemency.

    According to state law, once prosecutors file their motion for a death warrant, Sylvester would designate a week between 90 and 120 days out for the execution to take place. It would be up to the head of the Colorado Department of Corrections to pick the precise day and time.

    Corrections Department regulations say department officials should not publicly disclose the execution date.


    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...lty-law-dunlap

  5. #15
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    High Court ruling for Dunlap doesn’t signal a quick end to decades old case

    With its decision not to hear Nathan Dunlap’s appeal last week, the United States Supreme Court pushed the convicted killer one step closer to execution.

    But that doesn’t mean Dunlap’s appeals are over, or even close to it. Colorado’s last execution — that of Gary Lee Davis in 1997 — took place just a few months after the High Court rejected Davis’ appeal, but don’t expect Dunlap’s case to move forward so quickly.

    Davis’ case always moved more quickly through the courts than Dunlap’s did. Davis confessed to his crimes, was convicted and sentenced to die just a year after he raped and murdered his neighbor near Byers. Dunlap’s case dragged from early on and it wasn’t until three years after he killed four at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese that he was convicted and later sentenced to die.

    While Dunlap has appealed his conviction at every step, Davis was ambivalent about his appeals, alternately wanting his lawyers to drop them and wanting them to fight his case.

    That, combined with the current state of the death penalty in Colorado and around the country add up to a murky picture for Dunlap’s future — though it’s fair to say Dunlap won’t be killed within five months.

    Dunlap’s lawyer said last week he planned to continue his effort to spare his client’s life, but he didn’t want to discuss specific plans.

    Experts say that even after the Supreme Court’s rejection, Dunlap has plenty of options that can at the very least stretch his execution beyond this year.

    “There are avenues open to someone even if they have been denied by the United States Supreme Court,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.

    Chief among those options are appeals focusing on the method of execution, Dieter said.

    Colorado law mandates that executions be carried out via lethal injection and according to the state Department of Corrections, executioners use a lethal cocktail of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

    That particular mix of drugs could raise issues, Dieter said. Sodium thiopental is not available anymore, so states have to find a different mix of drugs for their executions.

    Also, the fact that Colorado doesn’t have much experience in delivering lethal injections will likely be an issue.

    According to DOC statistics, Davis is the only person put to death in Colorado using lethal injection. The other 77 killed in Colorado since 1890 were executed via hanging or the gas chamber.

    That’s an issue, Dieter said, because the execution process is fairly complex, with prison staff needing to mix the chemicals at the right dosages, strap the inmate down and insert the IV appropriately.

    “Those are things that the prisons just don’t do on a regular basis, and typically doctors aren’t too likely to participate,” he said.

    All of those issues will likely wind up before a judge before any execution, Dieter said, and they could delay the process.

    “Courts will look at that, they don’t want anything too inhumane,” he said.

    With the irrevocable nature of an execution, Dieter said courts are generally willing to hear new information and consider an appeal.

    “Courts are reluctant to grant an additional appeal, but because the death penalty is so irrevocable and also shown to be fallible as of late, courts are willing to reopen these cases,” he said.

    The fact that there is legislation aimed at abolishing the death penalty working its way through the state Capitol could also be a factor in Dunlap’s case.

    “The political side can enter into death penalty cases as well,” he said.

    Locally, legal experts say they don’t see the High Court ruling as some sort of final stop for Dunlap’s case.

    “The attorneys are going to do everything they can to get it delayed, to get it stayed,” said Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor currently working in private practice. “We’ve seen so few death penalty cases in Colorado that get to execution, so I’m not sure it would be fair to say that people expect it to end this year.”

    http://www.aurorasentinel.com/news/h...ades-old-case/

  6. #16
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    Attention increases on Colorado governor Hickenlooper over death penalty

    Attorneys for Colorado death-row inmate Nathan Dunlap are working on a clemency petition in the hopes of persuading Gov. John Hickenlooper to spare the killer's life.

    Records show, however, that the petition will not be the first outreach by Dunlap's attorneys to the governor's office. E-mails provided to The Denver Post as part of an open-records request reveal that Dunlap's attorneys have been in regular contact with members of Hickenlooper's legal team.

    The messages are mostly brief notes alerting Hickenlooper's lawyers to new developments on death-penalty polices around the country or reports on capital punishment in Colorado. But they speak to a larger, quiet effort to change Hickenlooper's mind on the death penalty, amid signs that the governor's position has recently wavered.

    That effort will gain more attention when a bill repealing capital punishment is introduced in the state legislature as soon as this week. For a man in charge of a state that hasn't executed someone in 15 years, Hickenlooper will soon have two big decisions to make on the death penalty .

    "I think they're listening. They're always listening," Lisa Cisneros, the executive director of Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said of the governor's office. "But I don't know where they're leaning on it."

    Rep. Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat expected to be one of the bill's sponsors, said the bill would repeal the death penalty as a sentencing option on crimes going forward. For murders committed after the bill becomes law, the highest punishment would be life in prison without parole.

    That means the bill would not affect current murder cases, like the one against Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes. And it would also not have a direct impact on Dunlap, whose last guaranteed appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court last month. That decision cleared the way for an execution date to be set for Dunlap.

    Levy said she has not received any indication if Hickenlooper will support her bill.

    "I don't know anything other than the statements he has made publicly," she said.

    When Hickenlooper ran for office in 2010, he answered a Denver Post question about whether the death penalty should be repealed: "No, but it should be restricted." Late last year, though, Hickenlooper was less decisive about the death penalty.

    "I wrestle with this, right now, on a pretty much daily basis because we are in a position where we have a couple of death row inmates that are going to come up, " Hickenlooper told the Associated Press, "and I haven't come to a conclusion."

    A spokesman for Hickenlooper said the governor still struggles with the issue and hasn't reached any conclusions about the forthcoming bill or Dunlap's case.

    The documents provided to the Denver Post show that Dunlap's attorneys have been in contact with the governor's office since at least January 2011, when attorney Philip Cherner sent a letter to Charles Garcia, then special counsel to Hickenlooper, seeking clarity on how to file a death-penalty clemency petition (The state does not have an established policy for such petitions).

    In the months since, Cherner and attorney Madeline Cohen have sent occasional notes to Hickenlooper lawyers altering them to news items and reports that argue against capital punishment.

    "Jack/Stephanie, here's a powerful op-ed from today's New York Times," reads one typical message, sent by Cherner to Jack Finlaw and Stephanie Donner, two of Hickenlooper's attorneys. The message contained a link to an editorial about the international trend toward fewer executions.

    The documents do not show any responses by Hickenlooper's lawyers beyond thank yous. Nor did the Post's request which asked for all correspondence related to the death penalty turn up any e-mails by death-penalty supporters to the governor.

    But capital punishment's proponents are also making their voices heard in preparation for the debate over repealing the death penalty. In an editorial last month, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and Rep. Rhonda Fields an Aurora Democrat whose son was killed by two men now on death row said the legislature should put the issue to the voters.

    "That question is all too critical to every Coloradan not to be fully vetted," the pair wrote. "And, to date, the vetting process is less than complete."


    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...-death-penalty
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  7. #17
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    Prosecutors seek new execution date for killer Nathan Dunlap

    Prosecutors in Arapahoe County have asked a judge to set a new execution window for convicted killer Nathan Dunlap.

    The motion is made possible by a federal judge's decision earlier this week to lift a stay of execution he had imposed while Dunlap appealed his death sentence in federal court. That appeal ended in February, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

    In a motion filed Thursday, prosecutors ask the judge overseeing the case to designate a week during which Dunlap must be executed. Under state law, the final date of the execution is selected by the head of the Department of Corrections.

    Dunlap was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1993 murders of four people in an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. Dunlap shot and killed 17-year-olds Ben Grant and Colleen O'Connor, 19-year-old Sylvia Crowell and 50-year-old Margaret Kohlberg, the restaurant's manager. He also wounded another employee before making off with about $1,500 in cash and game tokens.

    Thursday's motion moves him one step closer to becoming the first inmate executed in Colorado in 16 years. According to state law, the judge must set the execution week between three and four months out from the day of the hearing at which he sets it.

    Dunlap's attorneys, meanwhile, have raised several issues that may delay that hearing.

    In two motions, the attorneys argue that the judge now presiding over the case 18th Judicial District Chief Judge William Sylvester should recuse himself because he worked in the district attorney's office during Dunlap's prosecution.

    "He was a member of the same office that prosecuted Mr. Dunlap, decided to file charges against Mr. Dunlap and, perhaps most importantly, decided to seek the death penalty against Mr. Dunlap," Dunlap's lawyers write in one motion asking Sylvester to disclose whether he played any role in the case when he was a prosecutor.

    In their response, the current prosecutors on the case say simply working in the district attorney's office at the same time is not enough to justify a recusal.

    Attorneys on both sides are also fighting over whether Dunlap has a right to be present at the hearing during which his execution week is determined. Dunlap's attorneys say he does; prosecutors contend he does not.

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...-nathan-dunlap
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  8. #18
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    Colorado judge sets hearing to designate week of execution for convicted killer Dunlap

    Nathan Dunlap, who murdered four people in an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant 20 years ago, could be executed in August, after a judge on Friday set a hearing to determine a new reckoning date for the killer.

    Judge William Sylvester scheduled a hearing for May 1 to designate a week during which Dunlap will be executed. Under state law, the final date of the execution is selected by the head of the Department of Corrections.

    The law says judges must set the execution week between 91 and 126 days out from the day of the hearing at which they set it. If Sylvester were to designate a week at the May 1 hearing, that means Dunlap could be executed some time between July 31 and Sept. 3.

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...-nathan-dunlap
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  9. #19
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    Nathan Dunlap attorneys seek public input on execution plans

    Attorneys for condemned killer Nathan Dunlap are urging the Colorado Court of Appeals to shed light on how an execution would be carried out in Colorado and require public input on the process.

    Dunlap's legal team contends that a Department of Corrections document spelling out details of precisely how an inmate would be executed should be tossed out because it was compiled without public input.

    James Kilroy, one of Dunlap's attorneys, told an appeals court panel earlier this month that the issue boils down to: "Is CDOC able to establish secret procedures for carrying out death penalty by lethal injection?"

    Arguing on behalf of the state, Assistant Attorney General Chris Alber said execution procedures fall under the duties of the DOC director in managing the department. That exempts the document from rules requiring public input, Alber said.

    In an opinion last year, a Denver District Court judge agreed with that view.

    The document, known as Administrative Regulation 300-14, describes procedures for carrying out "the death penalty by lethal injection in a professional, humane, and dignified manner. . ." and much of it is secret, including which drugs would be used to kill Dunlap and the dosage of each.

    The public portion of the most recent version the document is updated periodically was signed June 1, 2011 by late DOC Executive Director Tom Clements. Clements was killed at his home last month.

    Just one week before his death, Clements sent a note to Colorado pharmacists asking for help securing sodium thiopental, the barbiturate general anesthetic that is used in lethal injections.

    Under state law, the department must carry out executions with "a lethal quantity of sodium thiopental or other equally or more effective substance sufficient to cause death."

    During the April 1 argument before the appeals court, judges questioned attorneys on both sides about why execution procedures are, or are not, deserving of public input. A decision is expected soon.

    "I think those are issues of paramount public importance," Kilroy said. "As a community, I would hope that we care about terminating lives in the most humane way possible."

    Philip Cherner, another Dunlap attorney, said this week that opening up the process of determining execution protocol is vital to the public's understanding of the death penalty.

    "We think the public should know what this is all about, and have access and input into the process," he said.

    Alber said the DOC "does not concede" that the public has the right to comment on execution procedures. If there is public interest, then the legislature must create a law that calls for public input, Alber said.

    In the meantime, the DOC director has the job of putting the procedures in place, just as the director determines how and where inmates are housed to carry out their sentences.

    In 1996 Dunlap was convicted and sentenced to die for killing 17-year-olds Ben Grant and Colleen O'Connor, 19-year-old Sylvia Crowell and 50-year-old Margaret Kohlberg during a 1993 robbery of a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant in Aurora. He also wounded another employee before making off with about $1,500 in cash and game tokens.

    Dunlap is now the longest-serving of Colorado's three death-row inmates. Dunlap moved significantly closer to execution in February when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal. That cleared the way for an execution date to be set.

    Last week, Arapahoe District Judge William Sylvester scheduled a hearing for May 1 to designate a week during which Dunlap will be executed. Under state law, the final date of the execution is selected by the head of the DOC and must be set between 91 and 120 days from the date of the hearing at which the execution date is set.

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...xecution-plans
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  10. #20
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    Court rules Colorado may use lethal injection to execute condemned killer Nathan Dunlap

    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.

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news...-nathan-dunlap
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