It's been a long, long road from the 1993 murder of four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora to Colorado's lethal injection chamber, and convicted killer Nathan Dunlap isn't there yet, thanks to the temporary reprieve from execution granted by Governor John Hickenlooper last year. That controversi ... More >>
In June 2013, a month after Governor John Hickenlooper granted Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap a reprieve from execution but didn't commute his sentence, a poll showed that Colorado voters disagreed with his decision by a three-to-one margin. Since then, the furor has faded -- but the issue is ... More >>
Our post about horribly botched executions, prompted by a lethal injection of convicted killer Joseph Rudolph Wood that dragged on for nearly two hours, inspired passionate responses from readers on the topic of capital punishment. Here the comment of someone speaking from personal experience. See ... More >>
Yesterday in Arizona, convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood was executed...very slowly. Wood reportedly gasped for breath for nearly two hours as witnesses watched before finally expiring. This is hardly the first botched execution, as is clear from the following roster, first published last year. ... More >>
Growing up in an East Texas trailer park gave Michael Mayes an edge on the other singers trying out for the role of Joseph De Rocher, the convicted murderer and rapist in Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie's opera Dead Man Walking. It's a part Mayes knows well; he grew up with guys like De Rocher, in ... More >>
Last July, we told you about the decision by prosecutors at the Denver DA's office to seek the death penalty against Dexter Lewis, charged with killing five people at Fero's Bar & Grill in October 2012. Lewis's attorneys are reportedly asking the judge in the case to take capital punishment off the ... More >>
Standing outside the Angola State Penitentiary after witnessing the execution of Patrick Sonnier, Sister Helen Prejean struggled to wrap her head around what she had just seen. After all, in the United States, executions are hidden from the public, and few people ever witness the state killing a per ... More >>
As we've reported, yesterday was World Day to End the Death Penalty, and to mark the occasion, capital punishment opponents gathered at the State Capitol to decry the ultimate penalty with time-tested arguments and new statistics from a white paper and infographic assembled for the occasion; see bot ... More >>
At 10 a.m. in the State Capitol, capital punishment opponents, including Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, will commemorate World Day to End the Death Penalty. Among other things, the event is scheduled to feature "reflections of the death penalty's biased and unjust application." But what abo ... More >>
Lawyers for accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes think the state's death penalty laws are unconstitutional -- and they've filed a flurry of motions (some of which are on view below) asking that the judge in the case declare them so. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes, w ... More >>
Five years after an Arapahoe County jury decided that that he should be executed for murder, transcripts and other records in the case of Sir Mario Owens remain sealed under a court order that prohibits journalists, death penalty activists or even the defendant's family from viewing them -- an unpre ... More >>
There was an uproar immediately after Governor John Hickenlooper granted a temporary reprieve to Nathan Dunlap, the condemned killer who murdered four people and badly injured a fifth in 1993 -- and not just from critics like Colorado Attorney General John Suthers or Tom Tancredo, who said he's runn ... More >>
Governor John Hickenlooper's decision to grant a temporary reprieve to Nathan Dunlap, who killed four people and seriously wounded a fifth in an attack on a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant circa 1993, has been cheered in some quarters, but jeered in others. Tom Tancredo decided to run for governor due in ... More >>
Yesterday's decision by Governor John Hickenlooper to grant murderer Nathan Dunlap a reprieve from the death penalty -- one that will stand as long as Hickenlooper is in office but can be reversed by successors -- doesn't stand alone. As noted by the Death Penalty Information Center, more than 270 d ... More >>
Moments ago, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his decision regarding the scheduled execution of Nathan Dunlap, who was convicted in 1996 of killing four people and seriously wounding a fifth during an assault three years earlier at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. Rather than granting clemency, as ... More >>
We've been covering a clemency bid by Nathan Dunlap, who killed four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in 1993; see our previous coverage below. Yesterday, we shared a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper by a woman who was scheduled to work at the restaurant on the fateful evening but took the night off ... More >>
The decision by attorneys for accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes to enter a not guilty by reason of insanity plea seems motivated mainly by an effort to avoid the death penalty. Those representing Nathan Dunlap, convicted of killing four people at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in 1993, are ... More >>
At a February hearing, Edward Montour sought to withdraw his guilty plea for a 2002 murder in an effort to avoid the death penalty he'd previously sought. The office of 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler, who's also seeking death for accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, argued agains ... More >>
Capitol punishment has made plenty of news in Colorado lately, thanks to a failed attempt to ban the practice and 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler's pledge to seek seek the death penalty against accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. But what about when executions go wrong? CU Profe ... More >>
Update by Melanie Asmar: Was James Holmes's court filing stating that he was willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty a publicity stunt? That's the allegation being made by prosecutors in a response to Holmes's filing (on view below). The filing, they wrote, "appears to be an attempt to ... More >>
In more than eight hours of emotional testimony that stretched well into the evening, activists and faith groups seeking to abolish the death penalty in Colorado squared off against prosecutors and other backers of the ultimate punishment yesterday -- with family members of homicide victims speaking ... More >>
Before Representative Claire Levy proposes legislation to repeal the death penalty in Colorado, she wants to be sure that it can pass. And after more discussions with her fellow lawmakers on the topic, she says it seems like the momentum is right to get rid of the death penalty -- even if one of h ... More >>
Representative Rhonda Fields, an Aurora Democrat, generally sides with liberal lawmakers in Colorado. But when it comes to a possible repeal of the death penalty, she is unwavering in her opposition. Getting rid of the death penalty would be an insult to crime victims and ill-timed given recent horr ... More >>
With the new year comes a new legislative session, and there's already talk about a potential effort to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. And John Morse, a Democrat and the new president of the Senate, says he is likely to support a repeal. This would be a major shift from his previous stance ... More >>
Frustrated by a decade of legal delays and setbacks, the father of slain state corrections officer Eric Autobee says that he now opposes further efforts to obtain the death penalty for inmate Edward Montour Jr. for the 2002 murder. In a recent interview, Bob Autobee also blasted the leadership of th ... More >>
This week's feature, "Lethal Election," explores how the race for district attorney in the 18th Judicial District has drawn a national spotlight because the winner will have to decide whether to pursue the death penalty in prosecuting James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora theater shootings. It's a ... More >>
This week's feature, "The Happiest Man on Death Row," delves into Colorado's execution of Joe Arridy, a man with an IQ of 46, for a murder he almost certainly didn't commit. It happened in the 1930s, when the state's gas chamber was kept busy with a string of customers. But times are different now, ... More >>
This week's cover story, "The Happiest Man on Death Row," examines the 1939 execution of Joe Arridy, a Pueblo man with an IQ of 46, for a murder he probably didn't commit -- and the twenty-year battle by author Robert Perske to clear his name. Although the miscarriage of justice in Arridy's case is ... More >>
At his next court appearance, on Monday, suspected Aurora theater shooter James Holmes is expected to be formally charged by a prosecution team fronted by 18th Judicial District DA Carol Chambers. Our Alan Prendergast is an expert on Chambers thanks to feature articles such as "The Punisher," so it' ... More >>
Josiah Sher.News that Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers is seeking the death penalty for Josiah Sher, the alleged trigger man in a double-murder-for-hire case in Castle Rock, doesn't exactly come as a shocker. The slayings of Amara Wells and Bob Rafferty were about as coldb ... More >>
When you've spent close to three decades as one of America's leading opponents of capital punishment, you develop an understanding of what states truly have the will to execute their condemned. And Sister Helen Prejean, the Dead Man Walking author who's in Aurora tonight for a public talk on vengea ... More >>
Robert Ray. Yesterday, Robert Ray was sentenced to death in connection with the 2005 murders of Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe -- a verdict that duplicated the one previously given to Ray's accomplice, Sir Mario Owens. The ruling brings the population of Colorado's death row to ... More >>
You've got to admit it was a legislative masterstroke. As a House-passed bill to end capital punishment in Colorado and use the approximately $900,000 in savings to investigate so-called "cold cases" neared a Senate vote, opponents led by Democratic senator John Morse and Republican senator Josh Pen ... More >>
Last week, a bill to end the death penalty in Colorado squeaked through the House of Representatives by one vote; it reaches a Senate committee on Wednesday afternoon, April 29. The abolitionists maintain that execution is too costly and time-consuming and that the money could be better spent fund ... More >>
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers wasted no time responding to our February 28 feature examining her unusual cost-shifting approach to three death-penalty cases. Within hours after our article appeared online, she fired off the memo below to her prosecution team, blaming the high ... More >>
How does DA Carol Chambers beat the high cost of a death-penalty prosecution? By billing the prison system.
Only one man is on death row, but seven others are waiting in the wings.
Death penalty debate staggers to the theater.
The truth may not set you free, but it illuminates The Exonerated.
CU is keeping tabs on Colorado's cold cases.
Father Jim Sunderland chose to spend his life as a middleman -- between killers and God.
Despite the calls for vengeance, Coyote examines the sad, soulful truth about state-sponsored executions.
A new Curious Theatre Company production puts the death penalty front and center.
Donta Page's sentence revives Colorado's death-penalty debate -- but brings no closure. The Conclusion of "Penalty Zone."
Defense attorneys fight to save their clients by comparing them to current residents of death row.
With several controversial cases coming up, Colorado's death-penalty decision moves to a three-judge panel.
From the week of June 14, 2001
Until two years ago, Colorado juries weighed whether men deserved to die. Now judges decide their fate.