Colorado’s Chuck E. Cheese killer will likely face execution after several failed appeals, nearly 20 years after Nathan Dunlap, now 37, gunned down four employees in one of the chain’s locations in the state.
The Chuck E. Cheese killer was convicted in 1996 in the killings, and sentenced to death, but mounted several appeals since the trial.
The Chuck E. Cheese killer’s sentence was upheld in 2001, and another appeal started in 2004 was rejected by Colorado’s Supreme Court back in March. At the time, a ruling issued in the death penalty appeal stated:
“We dissolve the stay of execution and remand this case back to the trial court to set a date for imposition of the death sentence.”
Victims Sylvia Crowell, 19, Benjamin Grant, 17, Margaret Kohlberg, 50 and Colleen O’Connor, 17, died at the scene of gunshot wounds, but a fifth victim, Bobby Stephens, survived the massacre and positively identified Dunlap as the shooter.
As the Chuck E. Cheese killer fought the death sentence over nearly two decades, families of the victims began to find the process frustrating — Crowell’s father commented on Dunlap’s continued evasion of his execution date, saying back in 2007:
“It left a big hole in our family, of course … And 13 1/2 years is way longer than the process should take. Slow justice is no justice … Don’t get me wrong. I am not a violent type guy. I just think the public deserves justice.”
Execution for the Chuck E. Cheese killer looms ever closer, as a decision by the US Supreme Court not to hear a final appeal based on the assertion Dunlap was not given adequate initial representation in his trial was rejected. If the execution is carried out, it will be the first in Colorado in nearly two decades.