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Connecticut Death Penalty Move Echoes in Kentucky

April 9, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky death penalty opponents say the repeal of capital punishment taking shape in Connecticut reinforces their position that it should be abolished here.

The Rev. Patrick Delahanty, who chairs the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, says lawmakers and others previously in favor of capital punishment in Connecticut have rethought their positions.

"People have begun to understand that life without parole is a better ultimate penalty that protects society, is less costly, and does not risk killing an innocent person."

Delahanty says Kentucky has something Connecticut doesn't: a documented case of a young man - Larry Osborne, only 17 years old when he was arrested - wrongly convicted, being sentenced to death.

"There was a man put on Kentucky's death row when a prosecutor used hearsay testimony, and a judge allowed that to happen. Fortunately, our Supreme Court unanimously overturned that verdict."

Delahanty says Kentucky lawmakers need to lend a sympathetic ear to a growing number of murder victims' families. A recent study found that there has been a significant increase in opposition to executions from families of victims.

"The research found that, whatever closure is, it's not working by executing someone else."

Supporters of the death penalty argue that it is morally justified in aggravated murder cases.

The Kentucky House of Representatives recently passed a measure creating a Kentucky Death Penalty Reform Implementation Task Force. Its mission is to develop a strategy to implement reforms recommended by the American Bar Association's Kentucky Death Penalty Assessment Report. After a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the measure did not receive a vote and appears dead for this session.

The University of Lousville report mentioned is at

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY