Feb 14, 2013 8:00 PM by MTN News - Helena

MT Legislature hears testimony about death penalty

HELENA - Lawmakers heard emotional testimony about Montana's death penalty on Thursday.

House Bill 370 would get rid of the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole.

Families who have had their lives torn apart due to the murder of their loved ones testified, asking the legislators to abolish capital punishment.

Marietta Jager Lane, whose child was murdered, said, "Anybody who thinks the execution of a malfunctioning person is going to fix it for me, is giving an insult to the immeasurable value of my little girl's life and the lives of all our beloved victims."

Opponents to abolishing the death penalty say it serves as a deterrent to crime.

Some families who have had their loved ones murdered also testified in support of keeping the death penalty as a form of justice.

MT State Representative Tom Berry (R-Roundup) testified, "What about the terror that went through his mind the last seconds of his life when he was looking down the barrel of that gun? And the murderer told him his life was over? What about me, the boy's father? I'm a victim of this. Do you understand the mental anguish that I go through every day, thinking about the last terrifying moments of my son's life?"

During the 2011 legislative session, a bill abolishing the death penalty never made it out of committee.


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