Utah gets one step closer to abolishing the death penalty

Posted at 9:58 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 23:58:55-05

Salt Lake City -- In a close vote of 6-5, House Bill 189, which would end capital punishment in Utah, passed the house committee Tuesday night.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Steve Urquhart says there are three main reasons that motivated this bill. One is the cost, two is the fact that murderers on death row become famous while we tend to forget about their victims, and third that some families find the process to be a long and painful, making healing difficult.

The senator asked his friend Steve Shapiro to share his opinion. His parents were murdered in Arizona and one of the killers is currently on death row.

“We will still be forced with the prospect of having to have that wound opened and reopened and reopened at every moment in the appellate process and I submit to you that is a cost that is really horrible for us to bare,” says Shapiro.

Several others, like local defense attorney Mitch Vilos, spoke out against the bill, saying the possibility of parole for violent killers is not a risk Utah should be willing to take.

“Can you guarantee that a convicted killer, especially one that raped and murdered a child, won’t escape and be paroled and rape and kill another child? What will you tell the parents and grandparents of that child if you pass this bill,” says Vilos.

The bill already passed the senate and now moves to the house floor for a vote.