The vote didn’t come easy, but opponents of capital punishment got what they wanted early this morning in Connecticut when the state senate voted to approve a bill that would remove the death penalty from the books.
The state is now poised to become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty. Thirty-four states still have it.
According to this Hartford Courant story, the 20-16 vote came just after 2 a.m. this morning, after more than 10 hours of debate. The measure now moves to the state House of Representatives, where it has broad support, according to the story. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk. Click here for a WSJ story that ran shortly before the vote.
The bill passed largely on party lines, with two Democrats joining the Republicans in an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down the bill. The bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release, but stipulates that the 11 men currently on Connecticut’s death row would still face execution.
Among those awaiting execution are Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, who were convicted in 2010 and 2011, respectively, of crimes related to the high-profile murder of three members of the Petit family in 2007.
Since 1976, Connecticut has executed only one person. In 2005, convicted murderer Michael Ross was executed by lethal injection after giving up his appeals.
Thirty-four states have a death penalty, but that number has fallen in recent years. Since 2007, New Mexico, New Jersey and Illinois have all voted to repeal their death penalties. In 2004, New York’s death penalty was declared unconstitutional.