Thursday, April 05, 2012

Connecticut Senate approves death penalty ban

NEW YORK: Connecticut senators voted early Thursday to end capital punishment after a long late-night debate, putting it on track to become the fifth US state to repeal the death penalty in the past five years.

The bill, which now goes to the state's lower House of Representatives, would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole but would allow for the execution of the 11 men currently on death row.

The House - which, like the Senate, is controlled by Democrats - was expected to approve the bill and send it to Governor Dannel Malloy, who supports the measure and could sign it into law in the coming days.



"Today is a dramatic and potentially historic day," Democratic State Senator Eric Coleman said as the debate opened, according to The Hartford Courant.

"The Senate has... an opportunity to correct the arbitrariness, the discrimination, the random haphazard approach to the application of our death penalty in this state."

The lawmakers voted on the bill at 2:00 am (0600 GMT) after several hours of debate. It passed by a 20-16 margin, the Courant said.

A similar bill was approved by both chambers in 2009 but vetoed by then-governor Jodi Rell, who cited the high-profile case of two men sentenced to die for a shocking 2007 attack on the home of doctor William Petit.

Petit was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up while his wife was dragged off to a bank to withdraw money. One of the assailants then raped and strangled her, while his accomplice raped the doctor's 11-year-old daughter.

The girl and her 17-year-old sister were tied to their beds, doused in fuel and left to burn as the intruders set the house ablaze and fled.

Petit, still tied up, escaped to a neighbour's house and called the police.

The survivor and his sister Johanna were in the Connecticut Senate lobbying against the bill, local media reported.

According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, Connecticut has carried out only one execution since the re-establishment of capital punishment in the United States in 1976.

Four other states - Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York - have dropped the death penalty in the past five years, while support is growing in California to repeal the measure.

View the original article here

Source From Channel News Asia

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