Colorado's History with the Death Penalty

KUSA - The first execution in Colorado was the hanging of John Stoefel on April 9, 1859. Stoefel confessed to shooting his brother-in-law. Stoefel was hung less than 48 hours after the murder.

Colorado adopted using lethal gas for executions in 1934. Before that, all executions were carried out by hanging. Colorado switched to lethal injection in 1988.

On January 7, 2011, then Governor Bill Ritter granted a posthumous pardon to Joe Arridy. At 23, Ariddy was executed in 1939 after he was convicted of killing a girl in Pueblo with a hatchet. Ritter said at the time there was an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggested that Arridy, who had an IQ of 46, didn't commit the crime.

A total of 103 people have been executed in Colorado, the last one being Gary Davis on October 13, 1997. Davis was convicted of the murder of Virginia May in 1986. Then-Governor Roy Romer refused to grant clemency to Davis. Davis was executed by lethal injection.

Currently three men sit on death row in Colorado, all three cases were prosecuted in Arapahoe County.

Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray were sentenced to death after the 2005 murders of Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancée Vivian Wolfe.

In 1996 Nathan Dunlap was convicted of the 1993 Aurora Chuck E. Cheese murders where four people died. A judge ordered Dunlap to be executed during the week of August 18-24, 2013. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper delayed the execution granting an indefinite reprieve. Dunlap could still one day be executed, but the reprieve would be in place until Hickenlooper or another governor lifts it. Hickenlooper stated it is unlikely he'll ever allow the execution.

Two other men in Colorado are currently on trial in cases where the prosecution is asking for the death penalty. Prosecutors in Denver County are seeking the death penalty against Dexter Lewis, who is accused of the Fero's Bar murders where five people were stabbed to death in 2012.

Arapahoe County is prosecuting the case of alleged Aurora theater shooter James Holmes for the July 20, 2012 shooting that killed 12 and injured 70 others.

For a full list of executions in Colorado click here

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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