Chuck E. Cheese Shooter's Execution Week Set

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The man convicted in a massacre at a Colorado Chuck E. Cheese 20 years ago received his execution date Wednesday.

Nathan Dunlap has been scheduled for execution on the week of Aug. 18-24. The exact date is up to the interim director of the Department of Corrections.

The judge did schedule a hearing for June to hear arguments from Dunlap's attorney over the constitutionality of the death penalty.

If Dunlap, 38, is executed, he will be the first person in 16 years.

Dunlap was sentenced to death in 1996 for gunning down four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. The restaurant was closed at the time of the shooting; the victims were staying late cleaning when Dunlap entered. Dunlap had recently lost a job at the restaurant when the shooting occurred.

Dunlap's attorneys are arguing that Dunlap's death sentence was scheduled too soon--that he wasn't supposed to be executed until he completed a 75-year sentence for robbery. They're also arguing that the years-long wait inmates go through on death row falls under cruel and unusual punishment.

His lawyers are also asking the state Supreme Court to rule that Colorado prison officials first receive public input on how it performs executions.

Dunlap could avoid execution if Gov. John Hickenlooper grants him clemency. Hickenlooper is planning to meet with victims' families and others regarding Dunlap.

Dunlap's battle is coming to an end as lawyers prepare for the trial for a suspect in another Aurora mass shooting--James Holmes, the suspect in last year's theater shooting. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in that case.

Dunlap's battle is also drawing to a close at a time of high emotions and political tension surrounding gun violence nationwide.


CENTENNIAL, CO - MAY 5: Judge William Sylvester listens to the proceedings. A hearing was held today to set a date for the execution of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap at the Arapahoe County Court in Division court room 408 in Centennial, CO on May 1, 2013. Judge William Sylvester is the presiding judge on the case. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
CENTENNIAL, CO - MAY 5: Nathan Dunlap, siting next to one of his lawyers Madeline Cohen, in blue, listens to the proceedings. A hearing was held today to set a date for the execution of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap at the Arapahoe County Court in Division court room 408 in Centennial, CO on May 1, 2013. Judge William Sylvester is the presiding judge on the case. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
CENTENNIAL, CO - MAY 5: Nathan Dunlap arrives in court. A hearing was held today to set a date for the execution of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap at the Arapahoe County Court in Division court room 408 in Centennial, CO on May 1, 2013. Judge William Sylvester is the presiding judge on the case. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)


 
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