Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

House Committee Considers Expansion Of Death Penalty

Tony Webster

A House committee has approved one expansion of the death penalty, but put another on hold.

The Senate responded to last year‘s murder of a Purdue student in a classroom on campus with a bill allowing the death penalty for school shootings or shootings during worship services.

But Public Defender Council executive director Larry Landis says the bill would break new and questionable legal ground by allowing the death penalty based where the murder took place.

"Nearly all of the 16 aggravators currently in the statute deal with one of three situations," says Landis. "It's either the manner or method of killing, the characteristics of the murderer, or the characteristics of the victim. They're now starting to put a death penalty aggravator based on the geography."

And Landis says an attempt to limit the bill‘s impact to hours when classes or church services are actually in session instead could make the bill too vague.

Committee Chairman Thomas Washburne (R-Inglefield) says he‘ll decide next week whether to vote on the measure.

The committee did unanimously endorse a bill allowing the death penalty for beheadings.

Approval by the full House would send the bill to Governor Pence.

Related Content