"Judge to set Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap's execution dates," is Karen Augé's report for the Denver Post.
Some 13 years after he killed three teenagers and their 50-year-old manager as they were cleaning up and closing an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant, Nathan Dunlap is expected to learn on Wednesday when he will be executed for the crime.
Dunlap will appear before Judge William Sylvester in an Arapahoe County district court, where the judge will schedule an execution date at least 90 days but no more than 120 days in the future. The exact date will not be disclosed, but the judge will set a one-week window.
It will mark the first time a death date has been set in Colorado since the October 1997 execution of killer Gary Davis.
But few expect that Dunlap will actually die during the week Sylvester sets.
A number of issues remain to be resolved in the case, including an appeal by Dunlap's attorneys to unseal the secret Department of Corrections document that describe how an execution will be carried out. A state appeals court has already ruled against Dunlap in that case.
In addition, his attorneys have said they will seek clemency from Gov. John Hickenlooper.
AP coverage is, "Execution Week to be Set for Inmate Convicted of Fatally Shooting 4 at a Colorado Pizza Restaurant," by Dan Elliot. It's via the Republic.
Colorado has executed only one person in more than four decades — the state's last execution was in 1997 when Gary Lee Davis was put to death for his conviction in a 1986 slaying. 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.
Three men are now on Colorado's death row — Dunlap, Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray. Each was sentenced by a jury.
Dunlap can still ask Gov. John Hickenlooper for clemency. His lawyer, Phil Cherner, said a clemency request would be submitted after the judge sets a week for an execution.
Hickenlooper's spokesman, Eric Brown, said the governor hasn't decided whether he would grant clemency.
KDVR-TV reports, "Expert: Hickenlooper May Commute Chuck E. Cheese Shooter's Execution," by Will C. Holden.
The execution date is expected to be set for this summer, but there’s a chance Governor John Hickenlooper will commute the death sentence, instead giving Dunlap life without parole.
“He (Hickenlooper) is ambivalent about it now, and he’s being pushed by several people to commute the death penalty of Nathan Dunlap,” criminal defense lawyer Dan Recht said. “He may well do that.”
If he does, Recht said, it might send the state of Colorado mixed messages, especially with the looming trial of accused Aurora theater shooter, James Holmes. Prosecutors have stated intentions to will seek the death penalty for Holmes, as well.
“Would Hickenlooper also consider commuting a death penalty for James Holmes?” Recht asked. “It’s an interesting question, and it could leave people wondering about the viability of the death penalty, which of course most of the state legislature is wondering about.”
Also from Colorado, there is news on the Aurora movie theater shooting case of James Holmes. ReutersLegal posts, "Accused Colo. gunman's lawyers may enter insanity plea over his objections," by Keith Coffman.
Lawyers for accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes are questioning the constitutionality of the state's insanity defense law, court records released on Tuesday show, and raising the possibility that they may enter an insanity plea over his objections.
Public defenders for Holmes, 25, said in a filing that there is "significant uncertainty and confusion" in Colorado law surrounding an insanity defense in the context of a case where prosecutors are seeking capital punishment.
That puts defense attorneys in a quandary, they wrote, because they cannot vouch for "the cognitive ability of their mentally ill client to understand complex legal concepts that few lawyers understand."
"That is one reason why Colorado's insanity statute provides a mechanism for entering (an insanity plea) over the objections of a defendant in some circumstances."