Senator Kissel: State Death Penalty Repeal Bill Appears to be Dead

May 12, 2011

State Sen. John A. Kissel, the ranking Republican on the legislature’s judiciary committee and a supporter of the death penalty, issued the following statement after efforts to repeal Connecticut’s death penalty this year appeared in doubt:

“Dr. William Petit has been speaking to individual senators at the State Capitol regarding this issue and those discussions appear to be the reason this legislation will not move forward. This is welcome news.

“The tragic deaths of the Petit family in Cheshire have affected so many people across our state and our nation. I have spoken with Dr. Petit as well. Hearing his story is nothing short of heart breaking.

“I firmly believe that we need to continue to have the death penalty on the books here in Connecticut. I believe that abolishing capital punishment and replacing it with life without possibility of parole will end up moving all plea bargains to lesser penalties.

“Enfield, Somers and Suffield are home to six of our state’s prisons. I represent the men and women who work in those facilities. They put their lives on the line each and every day. It is my role to see that they are properly protected. Repealing our death penalty law would put each of our corrections officers in even more danger than they are in now.

“Repealing our death penalty law would open the door to life in prison for all current death row inmates. Should the state’s death penalty no longer apply, appellate lawyers would be able to get a death sentence struck down on cruel or unusual punishment or other constitutional grounds.

“I respect those who oppose the death penalty on moral, religious or ethical grounds. Nonetheless, I believe that the death penalty should be reserved for those who commit the most heinous crimes against humanity and society.”