Mar 3, 2016 5:16 PM
CONCORD - The New Hampshire Senate came close today to joining all other New England states to repeal capital punishment.
"In New Hampshire we’re not in love with the death penalty and it’s time to do without it and put it in the dust bin," said State Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, whose father was murdered outside his home.
Hold on a second, representative.
That’s not what went down in the State Senate today with emotional debate that ended in a tie, 12-12 vote.
The Senate then voted to set the measure on the table. Technically it means the legislation is still alive but even supporters admitted the repeal fight for 2016 is over.
This became a vote of conscience.
"As we know this isn’t a question about political ideology, this I believe is one of the most difficult. The most difficult decision we consider in this body," said Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford.
Two conservative Republicans changing their past stance and coming out in support of repeal.
"And now we have definitive information that in some cases people have indeed been executed for crimes they didn’t commit," said Sen. Gary Daniels, R-Milford.
No one has been put to death in New Hampshire since 1939.
"New Hampshire doesn’t seem to have a problem but I think it would be a shame if we waited until we did have a problem," said Sen. Kevin Avard, R-Nashua.
Supporters still maintain having it has a purpose.
"I believe we have an obligation to ensure that justice is served in that we have a deterrent for those who would wish to do our society the highest harm," Senator Sanborn added.
Key supporters admit they believed the votes to repeal the death penalty were at hand on Wednesday night.
But by morning they had lost some key support and fingered calls and e-mails from law enforcement leaders as providing the political pressure needed to change some minds.
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