The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s death penalty, leaving only the state Senate standing in the way of the effort to abolish capital punishment. The legislative body voted overwhelmingly, 225 in favor of repeal and 104 opposed. The vote was mostly bipartisan and did not skew along party lines.
Governor Maggie Hassan has already said that she will sign the appeal, provided that the bill does not apply to the state’s only current death row inmate, Michael Addison, who was convicted in 2006 of killing a police officer. An proposed amendment to also apply the law to the Addison case failed by a vote of 245–85, while an amendment to retain the death penalty for the murders of children 12 and under also failed, 243–87.
Addison’s case is expected to cost at least $8 million in appeals. The annual cost for life imprisonment in New Hampshire is $35,000.
Opponents of the measure argued that New Hampshire is one of the most difficult states in which to obtain a death penalty verdict. “We are not Texas or Arkansas,” said Representative Keith Murphy. Nobody has been executed in the state since 1939.
Three House members whose relatives had been murdered maintained their support for the bill. Rep. Renny Cushing, whose father and brother-in-law were killed in separate incidents, said, “If we let those who kill turn us into killers then evil triumphs, violence triumphs and things just get worse.”