Feb 14, 2013 6:48 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

Testimony heard on bill to end the death penalty in Montana

HELENA - Tears filled the room today as lawmakers heard emotional testimony on Montana's death penalty.

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 legislature to abolish capital punishment.

"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," said Marietta Jager Lane whose child was murdered.

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.

"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?" said Rep. Tom Berry (R-Roundup).

Last session, a bill abolishing the death penalty died in committee.


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