There is news in cases involving Colorado, Montana, and the federal death penalty.
The Denver Post reports, "Judge to decide Nathan Dunlap's execution date in May," by John Ingold.
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.
Sylvester's order came after 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.
"Montana prosecutors won't seek death penalty in killing of Illinois man kidnapped from hotel," is the AP report filed by Matthew Brown. It's via the Republic.
Montana prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against the defendant charged with killing an Illinois man who was kidnapped from a Billings hotel, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said Monday.
Simon Jacobson, 28, is charged with deliberate homicide and other crimes in the January death of Dejuan Laster, 29.
Authorities allege that Jacobson and an accomplice posed as FBI agents to kidnap Laster and his girlfriend from the Extended Stay America hotel during a robbery. Jacobson later admitted to shooting Laster and hiding his body in a culvert in a rural area of Yellowstone County, investigators said.
Jacobson was being held on $1 million bail after pleading not guilty.
Ronald Smith and William Jay Gollehon are the only two inmates currently awaiting execution in Montana.
In comparing Jacobson's alleged actions against those other cases, Twito said Jacobson had only one aggravating factor — the kidnapping — that would merit a death sentence under Montana law, versus multiple aggravating factors in the others.
"It was the assessment of this office that a sentence of death would not likely be imposed," Twito said.
The Billings Gazette reports, "Twito: No death penalty in Laster murder case," by Greg Tuttle.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito announced Monday that he will not seek the death penalty for the Billings man accused of kidnapping and killing Dejuan Laster.
Under state law, the death penalty can be sought only under certain circumstances, including cases that involve aggravating factors such as multiple victims or aggravated kidnapping.
The aggravating kidnapping charge against Jacobson sparked Twito's review of whether his office should seek the most severe punishment.
Twito said Monday he had consulted with Laster's family about his decision. He said they had been "very open" during his review.
"I believe that they trust the decision that's been made here today," Twito said when asked about the family's response to his decision.
Twito said he also reviewed the cases of the only two inmates currently on Montana's death row, Ronald Smith and William Gollehan. Both the men had multiple aggravating factors, Twito said.
Smith was convicted and sentenced to die for killing two men in 1982. Gollehon received the death sentence for his role in the death of five inmates during a 1991 riot at Montana State Prison.
It became clear, Twito said, "that a sentence of death would not be imposed (against Jacobson) during the sentencing phase."
In a potential federal death penalty case, the New York Post reports, "US Justice Department will not see death penalty for Colombo crime family consigliere." It's by Mitchel Maddux.
The US Justice Department won't seek the death penalty for a Colombo crime family consigliere accused of sanctioning the 1997 murder of NYPD Officer Officer Ralph Dols.
US Attorney General Eric Holder issued the course-reversing directive -- made public today -- without citing a rationale for his shift.
Now Colombo wiseguy Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace, 72, will face a maximum penalty of life in prison if he's convicted at his upcoming mob murder trial in Brooklyn federal court.
Cacace is already serving a 20-year sentence for other mob crimes that has him scheduled to be released in June 2020, according to prison records.
Back in Feb. 2011, Holder authorized Brooklyn prosecutors to pursue the death penalty for Cacace, who's charged with ordering the carefully planned Aug. 25, 1997 hit on the off-duty officer in Brooklyn.
"Attorney General Eric Holder: no death penalty in mob murder trial," is the New York Daily News report by John Marzulli.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered prosecutors in Brooklyn to withdraw its intention for the ultimate punishment against former acting boss Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace, who is still awaiting trial in the case.
Last year two of Cacace’s underlings, Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli and alleged shooter Dino Saracino, were cleared by a Brooklyn jury of the off-duty cop’s killing. Prosecutors contend that Cacace marked the cop for death because he had married the mobster’s ex-wife, Kim Kennaugh.