House discusses death penalty abolition in Missouri

Mar 22, 2012

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Missouri.  As St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin tells us, the bill would also commute sentences of all current Death Row inmates to “life without parole."

Several people testified in favor of the bill, including Kevin Green, a California man who spent 16 years in prison on charges that he raped his wife and killed their unborn baby.  He was eventually exonerated after DNA evidence showed another man had committed the crime.  He says doing hard time in prison is a harsher punishment than being executed.

“I have broke bread with men who have killed and had it reverted back to a life sentence when they did away with the death penalty back in the 70’s, who wished for the death penalty to be there again because they would have already been dead, instead of having to languish, knowing they’ll never get out,” Green said.

No one testified against the bill, but a GOP member of the committee said that the state needs to have the option of executing people for heinous crimes.