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Feltes Says He'd Oppose Commuting Death Sentence of N.H.'s Lone Death Row Inmate

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Feltes says under the current circumstances he’d reject efforts to commute the sentence of New Hampshire's lone death row inmate. As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, that’s not what Feltes, who voted to repeal capital punishment in the state Senate, said in a Democratic primary debate.

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During a Democratic primary debate, Dan Feltes said he agreed when then-rival Andru Volinsky said he would back commuting Michael Addison’s sentence.

On WMURSunday, Feltes said he agreed with allowing the commutation process to move forward as governor, but would ultimately block any move to change his sentence. Addison was convicted in the 2006 killing of Manchester Police Officer Michael L. Briggs.

Feltes now says he should have been clearer about where he stands on Addison’s commutation from the start.

“I don’t support the commutation petition right now."

But would he block any one that would come forward?

“No," he says. "If something came forward right now, under the facts as we know it, I would not support it. Because we have a prospective repeal, not a retrospective repeal.”

The governor and Executive Council have the power to commute sentences as they see fit.

But New Hampshire's death penalty repeal was written to leave Addison’s sentence intact.

New Hampshire hasn’t put anyone to death since 1939. The fact that Michael Addison is black has caused some – including many Democrats – to question whether racial discrimination was a factor in Addison’s death sentence.

Feltes opposed the death penaty and voted for its repeal as a senator.

New Hampshire hasn’t put anyone to death since 1939. 

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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