"Nathan Dunlap Case: U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Death Penalty Appeal Of Chuck E. Cheese Killer," is the AP report filed by P. Solomon Banda, via Huffington Post
A Colorado judge can schedule the state's first execution in 15 years after the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from an inmate who killed four people at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in 1993.
The high court's rejection ends Nathan Dunlap's guaranteed appeals and sends the case back to Colorado's 18th Judicial District, where a judge will set a timeframe for execution, said Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office.
Dunlap was a 19-year-old former employee of the restaurant when he killed the night manager of the restaurant and three teenage employees. They all died from shots to the head.
Another employee was wounded but survived and identified Dunlap as the killer. A jury convicted Dunlap in 1996.
The Supreme Court's decision comes as Democrats control the state Legislature and are considering introducing a bill to abolish the death penalty.
Dunlap, 38, is one of three men on Colorado's death row.
The state's last execution was in 1997 when Gary Lee Davis was put to death for his conviction in a 1986 slaying. Before that, Colorado had gone 30 years since its last execution, in part because of a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to a moratorium on the death penalty.
Colorado reinstated the death penalty in 1984. But in 2003, three inmates had their death sentences commuted to life in prison without parole after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juries, not judges, should impose capital punishment.
All three men on death row – Dunlap, Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray – were convicted for crimes committed in Aurora, the scene of the July 20 theater shooting where a gunman killed 12 and injured 70 others.
Brauchler has not said whether he will seek the death penalty against suspect James Holmes.
"U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear death-penalty appeal of Aurora Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap," is by John Ingold in the Denver Post.
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.
Earlier coverage from Colorado begins at the link.