Death Penalty Bill dies in House Committee

Death Penalty Bill dies in House Committee

SB 6052, which removes the death penalty as an option for aggravated first-degree murder cases and replaces it with life in prison without the possibility of parole, died in House committee on Monday.

The Senate approved the bill on Feb. 15 in a 26-22 vote.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson is hopeful to get this legislation done next session. “I am deeply disappointed, but my disappointment is tempered somewhat by the historic progress the bill made this year,” Ferguson said.

The clock is ticking for Washington state Legislature to vote on critical issues, however.

According to the governor’s office, Gov. Inslee “is encouraged that the bill made good progress this year and hopes that eventually Washington will join the list of states that are choosing to end the death penalty.”

The effort got an extra push this year when Republican King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg testified in favor of ending the death penalty during a Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing. All three argue the death penalty is too costly, doesn’t offer closure for victim’s families, and is applied unequally.

Groups concerned about those wrongfully convicted ending up on death row have also been supporting the effort.