Delaware Senate passes bill to abolish death penalty

AP News
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Posted: Apr 02, 2015 6:48 PM

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The Delaware Senate has passed a bill to abolish the state's death penalty.

The legislation, approved by an 11-9 vote Thursday, mirrors a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 by only one vote before dying in a House committee.

The bill now goes to the House, where it faces an uphill battle. Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has not said where he stands.

The legislation removes execution as a possible punishment for first-degree murder, leaving life in prison without parole as the only sentence.

The bill would not apply to the 15 killers now on Delaware's death row.

Democratic Sen. Karen Peterson is the bill's chief sponsor. She said death penalty opponents believe capital punishment is arbitrary, discriminatory against minorities, costly to taxpayers and ineffective as a deterrent to crime.