State Rep. Wants To Abolish Death Penalty

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 1/02/2013 6:28 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

Kentucky has the death penalty, but does not use it very often.  The last time an inmate was executed was 2008.  A state representative says the time is now to abolish it. 

"I honestly spent three years wanting to murder the man who killed my brother," said Ben Griffith, Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Board Member. 

In 1986, Ben Griffith's brother was gunned down in a quadruple murder in Missouri.  Despite the brutal crime, Griffith opposes the death penalty.  He says his brother's murderer's execution gave him no relief.

"The day that Chris' murderer was executed, I was feeling pretty empty," said Griffith. 

Since that day in 1997, Griffith has work to abolish the death penalty.  Now he has an ally in state Representative Carl Rollins.

"I had a teacher in the 7th grade who lived in Eddyville, I guess, where the main penitentiary was, and he would talk about the electricity dimming when they would electrocute somebody at night," said Representative Rollins, (D) House District 56. 

This memory stayed with Rollins, and now he's sponsoring legislation to get rid of the death penalty, and replace it with life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

"Three primary reasons: morally, the coast, and the justice," said Rollins.

Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson says some crimes deserve the death penalty.  He calls Kentucky's death row inmates bums, and says the death penalty's not the problem.

"The problems are death sentences never seem to be carried out.  People on death row have a greater likelihood of dying of old-age  than being executed," say Ray Larson.

Meanwhile, Ben Griffith says revenge is not justice. 
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