Governor Hickenlooper’s cowardly decision yesterday to save mass murderer Nathan Dunlap’s life via executive order has been met with a furious reaction across Colorado. Most furious were the victims’ families, who have been waiting 20 years for justice.

Pic via 9News

The Denver Post reports on the anger among the victims’ families towards Hickenlooper:

Reactions from the families of those slain during the Chuck E. Cheese’s killings were as intense as they were different after Gov. John Hickenlooper announced he would halt the execution of Nathan Dunlap.

“The knife that’s been in my back … was just twisted by the governor,” said Bob Crowell on Wednesday after a conference call with Hickenlooper.

Crowell’s daughter, Sylvia, was among the four killed by Dunlap in December 1993 after the ex-employee hid in a bathroom until the children’s restaurant closed, then shot the five people working.

Hickenlooper contacted the families before his official announcement of an open-ended reprieve for Dunlap, 39, just three months before his scheduled execution in August.

“I don’t think its right that he sat in jail longer than my son was on Earth,” Sandi Rogers, mother of 17-year-old victim Ben Grant, said in an interview last week. “I’ve always felt if you are truly evil, then you need to not be on this planet.”

CBS4 happened to be interviewing Bob Crowell when Hickenlooper had a conference call with the victims’ families, where family members trashed Hickenlooper as a “coward”:

DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper indefinitely delayed the execution of convicted killer Nathan Dunlap on Wednesday and CBS4’s Jennifer Brice was with the parents of one victim when the governor had a private conference call with the families.

Brice was sitting in Bob Crowell’s kitchen with him as he was on phone with the governor. His daughter was killed by Dunlap at a Chuck E. Cheese 20 years ago.

During this conference call Brice could hear the other victims’ families yelling at the governor, saying things like, “Dunlap is an animal,” and “How could you do this?” And, “This is a coward’s way out.”

Watch the full CBS4 segment after the jump: