DENVER - Governor John Hickenlooper's decision to grant convicted killer Nathan Dunlap an indefinite reprieve from the death penalty drew mostly criticism Wednesday, but some had praise for the governor.
Dunlap was convicted in 1996 of killing four employees at a Denver-area Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in 1993. The jury sentenced him to die.
Prosecutors are not happy about the governor's decision. They see it as a threat to their ability to use the death penalty.
District Attorney George Brauchler, who represents the 18th District where the Chuck E. Cheese massacre occurred, said Hickenlooper's decision was not justice and that the governor "shrugged" off his responsibility.
"One person will go to bed with smile on his face and that's Nathan Dunlap," Brauchler said. "And that's due to one person: Gov. Hickenlooper."
Bob Crowell, the father of Sylvia Crowell, killed at the Aurora Chuck E. Cheese, was disappointed in the governor's decision.
"We've waited an awful long time," Crowell said. "It's a little like carrying a knife in my back. Today, that night was severely twisted."
The attorney for Nathan Dunlap calls the governor's decision, "well-reasoned and appropriate."
"Colorado's death penalty system is a broken system," Dunlap's attorney Phillip Cherner said. "It's arbitrary as most death penalty systems are. It's geographically disproportionate; it's racially disproportionate. The governor took all that into account and we welcome and applaud his decision today."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the state prisons officials over Dunlap's execution method, praised the governor.
"The ACLU of Colorado applauds the Governor for recognizing real inequities in the death penalty and for acting affirmatively to halt movement towards execution of Nathan Dunlap," ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley said in a statement.