Senate Shoots Down Death Penalty Expansion Bill

A sharply divided Senate committee has rejected a bill to expand the death penalty and redefine Virginia

FILE -In this November 2005 file photo, the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility is seen through glass from the witness room, in Lucasville, Ohio. Most of the 35 states with capital punishment have run out of a key lethal injection drug or are about to, according to an Associated Press review. And in many states, switching to another drug could prove a difficult, drawn-out process, fraught with legal challenges from death row that could put executions on hold. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)


A sharply divided Senate committee has rejected a bill to expand the death penalty.

The Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-7 Wednesday evening to kill the legislation to redefine Virginia's triggerman rule.

Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg has tried for years to repeal the triggerman rule, which allows only the person who does the actual killing to receive the death penalty. When it has advanced, the measure was vetoed.

This year's version of the bill would have allowed the death penalty for co-conspirators only in cases where a victim was raped and murdered.


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