There is a growing movement to put an end to the death penalty in Washington State.
A bill has been introduced in the Senate that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole.
Its supporters say one of its biggest benefits would be to save our cash-strapped state money.
The death penalty is more than a legal or legislative matter for State Senator Debbie Regala, whose brother-in-law was killed in 1980. The killer was never found.
“I am not speaking in theory,” Regala said at a news conference on Wednesday. “I am someone who lost a family member to murder.”
“The pain of having lost a loved one to murder never goes away,” Regala said.
Still, she’s the prime sponsor of a bill that would end the death penalty for emotional and financial reasons. She said a death penalty case can cost the state up to $2.5 million more than a non-death penalty murder case.
A defense team on Wednesday argued against the death penalty for Michele Anderson and Joseph McEnroe. They’re accused of killing six members of Anderson’s family in Carnation on Christmas Eve in 2007.
The prosecutor has said he will ask for the death penalty for both if they are found guilty in a trial that begins this May.
Supporters of Regala’s bill say it will protect the public by sending murderers to prison for life without possibility of parole. And they say it will save money at time when the state is more than $1 billion in the red.
“That money can go for education. That money can go toward services for children who are in families where it’s not the best environment,” Regala said.