State Sen. Edith Prague will vote in favor of a bill to repeal Connecticut’s death penalty, but the intentions of two other key senators remain unknown.
Sens. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, and Carlo Leone, D-Stamford, have not publicly stated how they intend to vote. Calls seeking comment from both lawmakers have yet to be returned.
The state Senate is poised to debate the bill during Wednesday’s session, according to a story in the Connecticut Mirror.
Those advocating an end to capital punishment in Connecticut say Senate leaders would not call the bill unless their was sufficient support for its passage. The measure would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release.
Prague, a Democrat from Columbia, had long been a supporter of the death penalty. But in 2009, the last time it came up for a vote in the chamber, she changed her vote to support the repeal effort.
Then last year, Prague switched again, citing a brutal home invasion in Cheshire. The trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, one of the two men charged with killing three members of the Petit family was playing out last spring, when lawmakers were pondering the bill. He has since been convicted and sentenced to death, as has Steven Hayes, who was also charged in the case.
Prague’s spokesman, Laurence Grotheer, said this morning the senator would only vote in favor of a repeal bill if she was sure it would be “prospective” in nature–that is, it would only apply to future cases and the 11 men currently on death row would still face execution.
But Senate Minority Leader John McKinney said the fate of the death penalty in the state would be murky, at best, should a repeal bill pass.
“Sen. Prague said she would not vote to repeal unless she was certain that the existing members of death row would still be subject to the death penalty,” said McKinney, R-Fairfield and a supporter of the death penalty, “so I’m disappointed she would vote to repeal…Those who have taken the stance that bill is prospective only have done so for their own political reasons.”
A bill repealing capital punishment cleared both the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2009, but was vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Her replacement, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, has said he will sign a bill that is prospective in nature.