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Conservatives in Northern Kentucky Form Group to Oppose Death Penalty

A group of conservatives in northern Kentucky are organizing against the death penalty, calling on Kentucky lawmakers to make life without parole the maximum sentence.
A group of conservatives in northern Kentucky are organizing against the death penalty, calling on Kentucky lawmakers to make life without parole the maximum sentence.
October 13, 2015

PARK HILLS, Ky. - Self-described political and social conservatives in northern Kentucky are forming an organization opposed to the death penalty. Andrew Vandiver, who lives in Walton, is heading the effort. Vandiver says he approaches the death penalty from the pro-life view, that all human life is sacred.

"In the United States we have the option of life in prison without parole and given that we have that option I can't find a good basis for taking a human life," says Vandiver.

Kentucky is among 31 states that allow executions. Those in favor of capital punishment often say they support the idea because it can deter crime and bring closure to a victim's family.

Vandiver says the group's main theme is the death penalty is not aligned with the conservative values and political principles of spending less and limiting the power of government.

"Everyone, and particularly conservatives, should recognize that we have limited resources and when we spend millions of dollars on an inefficient program like the death penalty that's taking away from other programs that we can support such as law enforcement that could actually deter crime," says Vandiver.

Al Kovacic, a high school teacher who lives in Union, believes capital punishment doesn't deter crime and doesn't bring closure to families of victims.

"The death penalty doesn't bring closure to people," he says. "You know, the victim is still dead, the family is still mourning. Taking a life for a life doesn't seem to fix the problem. Murder rates in the states that have the death penalty are higher than the states that don't."

Kovacic says he's joining the network of northern Kentucky conservatives who want the state to make life without parole the maximum sentence. In his opinion, the death penalty is revenge, not justice.

"We don't burn down the homes of arsonists, for example, steal things from people who steal," says Kovacic. "So, it's not justice, its retribution."

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY