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Virginia lawmakers outlaw death penalty

Virginia senators vote on a bill repealing the death penalty at a meeting on Monday at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. Associated Press/Photo by Steve Helber

Virginia lawmakers outlaw death penalty

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said he will sign a bill that would make Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions. The Virginia House and Senate approved identical but separate bills repealing the death penalty on Monday.

Will the change affect any current prisoners? The state has two men on death row. They would instead face life in prison without parole. Anthony Juniper received a death sentence in the 2004 killings of his ex-girlfriend, two of her children, and her brother. Thomas Porter was convicted in the 2005 killing of a Norfolk police officer. Virginia has used the death penalty more than any other state dating back to its days as a colony. Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, Virginia, with 113 executions, is second only to Texas.

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about the debate over whether to allow clergy in the execution room.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is a former assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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