- (Photo: Aurora Police Handout)
Nathan Dunlap, the Chuck E. Cheese killer, has lost his appeal for a stay of execution. Dunlap was sentenced to death after killing four people at an Aurora, Co. Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
The United States Supreme Court said it would not hear Dunlap's appeal when it issued a whole host of denials and approvals of upcoming appeals. Dunlap's lawyers had hoped that his order of execution would be overturned and their client sent free.
"Mr. Dunlap should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole," Phil Cherner, one of the attorneys representing Dunlap told the Denver Post. "What happened is tragic, but taking his life isn't going to change that."
"We're one step closer," said Jim Peters, the prosecutor in Dunlap's trial. "It's not finalized. But we've taken another major step forward."
Prosecutors argued that in 1993, Dunlap deliberately planned and executed four people, including three teenagers. Sylvia Crowell, Ben Grant, and Colleen O'Connor, all in their teens, and Margaret Kohlberg, 50, all lost their lives when Dunlap emerged from hiding in the restaurant's bathroom and fired.
Police said at the time that Dunlap was upset because he had been fired from that same Chuck E. Cheese and wanted revenge. In addition to murdering four people, Dunlap took $1,500 in cash and knickknacks from the restaurant.
During the trial, according to reports, Dunlap insisted that he was mentally ill and his lawyers had failed to present that information to the court. It was a theory that he believed would have "mitigated his culpability enough to persuade at least one juror to vote for life imprisonment instead of death."
However, it also emerged that Dunlap told a doctor, "I'm gonna play crazy as long as I can … The police have no case against me, they're stupid" and then proceeded to insult the victims and say he would kill again if given the opportunity.
"I will continue to seek imposition of the death sentence in this case, in the interests of justice," District Attorney George Brauchler told the Denver Post. "Our office has spent 19 years prosecuting Nathan Dunlap for the preplanned and deliberate murders of the unsuspecting three teenagers and one adult victim who had the terrible misfortune to be working the night shift on Dec. 14, 1993 at Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora."
Dunlap's lawyers will continue to fight the order of execution.