Connecticut governor signs death penalty repeal

2003 file photo shows an unidentified death row inmate in his cell in the North Condemned Unit at Pontiac Correctional Institution in Pontiac, Ill. Associated Press

(CBS/AP) HARTFORD, Conn. - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation into law that abolishes Connecticut's death penalty for future crimes.

A spokeswoman said the Democrat signed the bill Wednesday afternoon at a private ceremony with lawmakers, clergy and family members of victims.

Malloy called it "an historic moment" as Connecticut joins 16 other states that have abolished capital punishment. He said it was a moment "for sober reflection, not celebration."

The bill was signed the same day that a new Quinnipiac University poll showed 62 percent of Connecticut voters support the death penalty. The same survey found 47 percent of voters disapprove of Malloy's handling of the issue, while 33 percent approve.

A former prosecutor, Malloy said his position on the death penalty has evolved over the years.

The legislation only abolishes the death penalty prospectively; it won't affect the 11 men already on death row, including Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, the two men convicted in the killing of Dr. William Petit's family,  the Hartford Courant reported.

Last year, strong public sentiment for Petit, whose wife and two daughters were brutally murdered in 2007, prevented the bill's passage.

Lawmakers struck a compromise that ensures those currently convicted of a capital felony will get life imprisonment without possibility of release, not death.

But the bill does not apply to those 11 awaiting the death penalty.

Comments