Families of murder victims oppose death penalty

Execution chamber
April 3, 2013 9:46:03 AM PDT
Some lawmakers and families of murder victims spoke out Wednesday against a new bill in the General Assembly that essentially restarts executions in North Carolina.

Senate Bill 306 seeks to end a logjam on North Carolina's death row, where no one has been executed since 2006 due to broad legal appeals. It also repeals the Racial Justice Act which allows death row inmates to appeal to have their sentences reduced to life in prison if they can show racial bias played a role in their original sentences.

While some families of murder victims have said recently they support the bill - and are tired of the legal wrangling that has stopped executions - others said Wednesday more executions would only cause more suffering.

"Executions should not be resumed unless its proponents can demonstrate that it is the best way to make us safe, is the best way to address the needs of the thousands of murder victim family members across our state, and can be done without racial bias or risk of executing an innocent person," offered Marcelle Clowes with the group Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation.

Supporters of the Racial Justice Act say it's a good law.

"Republican legislators want to sweep aside evidence of racial bias and rush to execute people, some of whom could be innocent," said NC Senator Earline Parmon in a statement.

But Republican senators restarting executions will help mete out justice upon convicted killers and give closure to families of slain victims.

Many district attorneys and victims of crime have publicly supported the bill.

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