EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 4, 2014

Former chief justice wants death penalty repealed

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The House passed the repeal measure, 225-104, last month. Lawmakers predict a close vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Rep. Renny Cushing, the bill’s sponsor, said yesterday that many senators are still making up their minds.

“It’s very fluid,” he said.

Both Cushing’s father and brother-in-law were murdered, but Cushing, a Hampton Democrat, said he has not let their deaths shake his opposition to the death penalty.

“That would give the killer more power,” he said.

Cushing acknowledged yesterday that the repealing the death penalty is one of the most difficult policy decisions the Legislature faces — one fraught with emotion.

“People on both sides of the issues are coming from a sense of morality and personal faith,” Cushing said.

The Legislature voted to repeal capital punishment in 2000, but then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen vetoed the bill.

Bud Welch, whose 23-year-old daughter was among 168 killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, told the committee that the execution of Timothy McVeigh only “revictimized” the families of his victims.

“Nothing about that process brought me any peace,” said Welch, who estimates he’s come to New Hampshire to testify against the death penalty at least seven times, including in 2000.

“I plead with you to make this my last trip to New Hampshire on the death penalty,” Welch said.

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