Apr 22, 2015 6:41 PM
Rep. Renny Cushing who’s father was shot in the chest and killed in 1988 is an adamant opponent of capital punishment.
"I think it's time that New Hampshire declare that the death penalty is something we can live without," said Cushing, D-Hampton.
The last execution in New Hampshire happened in the 1930s. Howard Long was arrested twice in connection with the death of two young boys. The second one was a 10-year-old Long met in Laconia.
Long was hanged in 1939. One of the nooses that was prepared for his hanging is displayed in the Belknap County Sheriff's Office.
"In 1939 this execution went off with very little public outcry, and in fact, when Mr. Long was hanged and subsequently buried apparently no one no family, friends, supporters came to his funeral," said Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin.
These days any death penalty case involves fierce debate and multiple appeals.
"The death penalty coursens us. It doesn't do the one thing we all would like and that's to bring our loved one back. kind of replicates the kind of behavior we abhor," Cushing said.
New Hampshire is the only state in New England that carries the death penalty. Last year a move to repeal it failed by a single vote. Rep. Bill O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon has pushed for expanding the death penalty, helping pass a bill known as 'Kim Cates Law' that makes murders committed during home invasions punishable by the death penalty.
"It's justice for the victims for the state to say, 'If you do that, if that's your intent, then we're going to reserve the right to put you to death'," said Rep. Bill O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon.
Only one person is currently on death row in New Hampshire. Michael Addison killed Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006. The NH Supreme Court has yet to rule on his appeal.
"The fact that it has remained I think talks to an understanding that there can be instances where it is entirely appropriate," O'Brien said.
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