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Senate Votes to Repeal N.H.'s Death Penalty, As Sununu Vows Veto

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state Senate has voted to repeal New Hampshire's death penalty – though Gov. Chris Sununu says he'll veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

The 14 to 10 vote Thursday comes after the Senate rejected repealing the death penalty twice in recent years, even as the House supported it. 

Now, the House will take up this latest proposal to change the state's highest punishment – for capital murder – to life in prison.

New Hampshire has executed 26 people in its history, most recently in 1939. It's the only New England state to still have a death penalty.

The only inmate now on the state's death row is Michael Addison, convicted of the 2006 killing of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs.

As written, the bill would not change Michael Addison's sentence.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, a Democrat who represents Manchester, still invoked the case in speaking passionately against the repeal proposal. 

But supporters like Sen. Bette Lasky, a Democrat from Nashua, say life in prison is sufficient punishment even for the most "heinous" crimes:

"State-sponsored execution is not justice,” Lasky says. “We stoop to the level of the killer, and it changes nothing."

Police officers and some victims' families have opposed the repeal, as has Sununu.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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