State Senate to Vote on Death Penalty Repeal Weds.; Williams: ‘We Have the Votes’

The Connecticut state Senate will vote on a repeal of the state’s death penalty Wednesday bringing the state closer to being the 17th to abolish capital punishment. Senate President Don Williams tells The Hanging Shad his Democratic caucus has the votes needed to pass the measure without having to have Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman break a tie. “We’ll have a decent majority,” he said.

Williams said the majority came together after senators toured death row at Northern Correctional Facility in Somers. “It was an extremely grim place as was the rest of the prison.” Williams said. The Hanging Shad reported back in February that some Democratic senators who were undecided about repeal had asked to see death row including Sens. Edith Prague, Carlo Leone and Joe Crisco. The senators also toured MacDougal-Walker Correction Facility in Suffield.

The majority in favor of repeal will not include Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback who has favored abolishing the death penalty in the past. He says he wants to see changes in the state’s early release process for prisoners first. “I’m hoping to appeal to the better instincts of my senate colleagues [Weds.] to find a way to keep faith with hundreds of victims of violent crime who feel the state has broken its promise [on length of incarceration],” Roraback said. The Democratic majority has no intention of allowing such changes.