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CONNECTICUT (USA): VICTIMS' FAMILIES BOOST DEATH PENALTY REPEAL

April 12, 2012: The vote to repeal Connecticut's death penalty brought a moment of triumph for Elizabeth Brancato, a lifelong opponent of capital punishment despite the murder of her mother in 1979.
Brancato had lobbied lawmakers for years, becoming more resolved against capital punishment as she met families of other victims frustrated by endless appeals. She also started a blog to highlight the voices of other victims' relatives in favor of repeal that she felt were overshadowed in the debate.
She was at the statehouse Wednesday night as the state legislature gave final approval to a bill that will make Connecticut the 17th state to repeal capital punishment. A week earlier, she was in the gallery when it cleared its biggest hurdle with an early morning vote in the state Senate. "It was one of the best moments of my life," Brancato said.
Brancato is among roughly 180 relatives of crime victims who pushed for repeal in private meetings with lawmakers, via petition drives and at news conferences. National advocates say the large size of their campaign sets Connecticut apart from other states, but relatives who oppose the death penalty are speaking up more often across the United States.
On the other side of the debate, death penalty supporters had perhaps the state's most compelling advocate in Dr. William Petit Jr., the only survivor of a 2007 home invasion in which two paroled burglars killed his wife and two daughters.
Last year, Petit successfully lobbied state senators to hold off on legislation for repeal while one of the two killers was still facing a death penalty trial. This year, many lawmakers said they were swayed by the stories of people who oppose capital punishment despite losing loved ones to horrific crimes. Rep. Kim Rose, a Milford Democrat, said she decided to support repeal after speaking with a man who found peace by forgiving his son's killer. "The moment I looked into his eyes and heard his story and I felt his pain, I got (it)," she said. "For him to finally come to some closure with it, was kind of a turning point for me."
Shari Silberstein, the executive director of Equal Justice USA, said it is unusual to have so many victims' family members involved in a repeal campaign. In Maryland, for example, she said around 50 such people are working on the cause. But she said they were integral to abolition in states like New Jersey and New Mexico, and more have stepped up recently in states including California, Colorado and Montana.
After the Connecticut House approved the bill, nearly a dozen family members who sat through the almost 10 hours of debate gathered to thank lawmakers who helped champion the cause. Some embraced Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, a New Haven Democrat was among the leading proponents. "There are families that agree with me and that disagree with me and I've talked to both sides," he said. "I think if you're going to have this discussion, you owe it to them to talk about both sides." (Source: Associated Press, 12/04/2012)

OHIO (USA): MARK WAYNE WILES EXECUTED
IRAN THANKS SAUDIS FOR SPARING CITIZENS ON DEATH ROW
PAKISTAN: DEATH PENALTY STATUS QUO
IRAN: TWO PRISONERS EXECUTED
NORWAY: BREIVIK TRIAL LAY JUDGE DISMISSED OVER DEATH PENALTY COMMENT
BANGLADESH: TWO TO WALK GALLOWS FOR MURDER
BIHAR (INDIA): COURT ACQUITS 23 IN CASTE MASSACRE CASE
IRAN HANGS EIGHT CONVICTED DRUG TRAFFICKERS
PAKISTAN: PRESIDENT ZARDARI, NO CHANGE ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: ARAB SELLER OF MACHPELA HOUSE SENTENCED TO DEATH
SOMALIA: PUNTLAND COURT SENTENCES AL SHABAB MEMBERS TO DEATH
PAKISTAN: 5 KIDNAPPERS AWARDED DEATH
JAPAN: WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING 3 MEN
FLORIDA (USA): DAVID ALAN GORE EXECUTED
KUWAIT: MPS OKAY DEATH PENALTY FOR CURSING GOD
CONNECTICUT (USA): MALLOY ISSUES STATEMENT ON FINAL PASSAGE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT REPEAL LEGISLATION
CONNECTICUT (USA): LAWMAKERS VOTE TO REPEAL DEATH PENALTY
LIBERIA: TWO CONVICTED CRIMINALS SENTENCED TO DEATH
EU: HAMAS RULERS URGED TO HALT EXECUTIONS
IRAQ: KUT BOMBING PERPETRATORS SENTENCED TO DEATH
PAKISTAN: TWO AWARDED DEATH SENTENCE IN TRAIN BOMB BLAST CASE
IRAN: 10 PRISONERS HANGED IN TWO DAYS
CONNECTICUT (USA): HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL STATE'S DEATH PENALTY
FIVE DRUG TRAFFICKERS SENTENCED IN CHINA
SAUDI ARABIA: OFW IN DEATH ROW FINALLY FREED
SAUDI ARABIA: TWO BROTHERS BEHEADED FOR MURDER
PALESTINE: THREE EXECUTED IN GAZA STRIP
INDIA: HC UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR RAPE AND MURDER CONVICT
SAUDI ARABIA FREES 22 INDONESIAN MAIDS ON DEATH ROW
CHINA: WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR $16 MILLION FUND SCAM

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