HARTFORD, Conn. — The death penalty may be ending in Connecticut soon after the state Senate voted Thursday to repeal it.
The bill calls for a penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of release instead. The bill needed 19 votes to pass, and it did so by a narrow margin, 20-16.
Sens. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk and Darien, and Carlo Leone, D-Stamford and Darien, supported the bill because felons convicted of crimes that merit the death penalty would now spend life in prison without the chance of release.
“They will never be on the streets again,” Leone said. He said he favors having a different punishment for crimes that would merit the death penalty.
Part of their decision, both said, was a desire for victims’ families to get closure. Families would no longer have to “relive nightmares” every time convicts appeal the death penalty, they said. In speaking with families of victims, more prefer ending the cases to putting perpetrators to death, Leone said.
Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, voted against the bill after speaking with a member of law enforcement who told her that the death penalty works as a deterrent, she said in a statement. She said he specifically said it keeps organized crime from committing premeditated murder and helps law enforcement learn more about serial killers who will offer more information to not face the death penalty, the statement said.
“If it deters just one person from putting a gun in their face and pulling the trigger, I can live with the vote that I am about to make,” Boucher said in her statement. Her district covers Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
The three senators all agreed that the decision was not easy and took much deliberation.
The bill will go to the state House of Representatives. If it passes there, it would move on to Gov. Dannel Malloy to sign into law.