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Crime Could Virginia abolish the death penalty in 2020?

20:35  19 november  2019
20:35  19 november  2019 Source:   wusa9.com

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Activists announced a new initiative seeking to end the death penalty in Virginia – a state with the second highest number of executions only behind Texas.

a group of people walking down the street: Could Virginia abolish the death penalty in 2020? A new push to outlaw capital punishment© Provided by TEGNA Inc. Could Virginia abolish the death penalty in 2020? A new push to outlaw capital punishment

The organization known as Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP) is set to formally unveil the effort in Richmond later this week. Victims of violent crime will deliver a letter from the VADP to the General Assembly, asking for the dramatic change to the commonwealth's penal code.

"The death penalty, it forces law enforcement to become killers," Michael Stone, executive director of the VADP, said. "And in many respects, it's not worth it."

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Three men are currently on Virginia's death row, including one from Fairfax County. Mark Eric Lawlor received a death sentence in 2011, after he raped and killed a Falls Church woman in 2008.

Lawlor's fate remains in limbo, after an appeals court said he deserves a new hearing.

Stone said the VADP has support for the measure from both Republicans and Democrats, as the organization began to set its sights on a concerted effort four years ago.

"I think it's a bit of an urban legend that this is a Democratic issue and Republicans are against a death penalty repeal," Stone said. "We've found exceptions to the rule on both sides of the aisle, because it's just not an effective measure anymore."

Gov. Northam said earlier this year he would sign a bill abolishing capital punishment, if the replacement measure called for a sentence of life without parole.

Jury decides on death penalty for man convicted of killing New Kensington police officer Brian Shaw

  Jury decides on death penalty for man convicted of killing New Kensington police officer Brian Shaw A jury has decided the man convicted of killing a New Kensington police officer should be given the death penalty. The jury convicted Rahmael Holt, 31, Tuesday on counts including murder of a law enforcement officer in the first degree. Sign up for our Newsletters Prosecutors said Officer Brian Shaw, 25, was shot during a traffic stop on Leishman Avenue in New Kensington in November 2017. Surveillance video from the scene was played during the trial.Emotional statements were made inside the courtroom Wednesday at the first day of the sentencing hearing for Holt.

"In a sense, the death penalty is not about what the perpetrator did, but, it's about what kind of people are we," Stone said.

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All eyes on Texas governor as calls grow to halt execution .
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — In his five years as Texas' governor, Republican Greg Abbott has overseen the execution of nearly 50 prisoners while only once sparing a condemned man's life.But Abbott — who has proudly referred to the death penalty as "Texas justice" — has never confronted such intense pressure to halt a lethal injection like he is facing in the case of Rodney Reed, who is set to die this month for a 1996 killing despite new evidence that even a growing number of Republican legislators say raises serious questions about his guilt.

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