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Pennsylvania considering abolishing the death penalty

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New legislation in Pennsylvania is calling for the death penalty to be abolished.

State Reps. Chris Rabb, D-Phila and Francis Ryan, R-Lebanon, along with Sens. Katie Muth, D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery, and Sharif Street, D-Phila, proposed the legislation with the support of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on the death penalty in February 2015.

“Studies have shown that the death penalty is not a deterrent,” Rabb said. “If Pennsylvanians can be put on death row and are later found innocent, how can we continue to sentence folks to their death when we know the system is flawed. We need to abolish the death penalty in our state. It’s simply barbaric and outdated.”

Since 1983, 140 people have been sentenced to death in Pennsylvania, but only three have been executed, the last being in 1999. 

The most recent death sentence handed down in Pennsylvania came just over a month ago on March 28, 2019, in the case of Jacob Patrick Sullivan, who raped, strangling and dismembering his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter.

According to the American Bar Association, “estimates also show that capital punishment had cost Pennsylvania between $315 and $600 million since 1978.”

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