Gov. John Hickenlooper decided Wednesday to grant a reprieve to convicted killer Nathan Dunlap, who was set to be executed in August for killing four people at a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant.
“Is it just and moral if we make a decision to take this person’s life, is it a benefit to the world,” Gov. Hickenlooper said.
The lone survivor of that shooting, Bobby Stephens said the decision made him feel like he was kicked in the gut.
“I did not see this coming, I thought we were on the right path and we were heading in the direction we needed to go and I feel like I’ve been blindsided,” Stephens said.
A father of six, his oldest son is the same age Stephens was when he was shot by Dunlap. Stephens said playing dead saved his life.
“I feel that Nathan’s received more rights and privileges than any of the victim’s families or myself,” Stephens said.
Outrage at the decision reached beyond Stephens and other victims families.
"There's going to be one person in this system who will go to bed with a smile on his face tonight, and that's Nathan Dunlap," Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler told reporters on the steps of the Colorado state capitol. "And he's got one person to thank for that smile, and that's Governor John Hickenlooper."
Hickenlooper said there were a number of reasons for his decision, including a lack of statistical evidence that the death penalty deters crime, and moral arguments.
Stephens says he will do whatever he can to overturn this decision, even campaigning against Hickenlooper.