A group of bipartisan state senators held a press conference Wednesday to announce they would soon put forward a piece of legislation to end the death penalty in Ohio.
“The death penalty is expensive, inhumane, impractical, unjust and often erroneous. Abolishing it is a practical solution,” Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), who plans to introduce this bill in the upcoming weeks, said. “This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. No matter what a person’s reason is for supporting this legislation, we all agree that this is critical for our own collective humanity. It is our responsibility to work together across party lines and legislative chambers and move forward to end the death penalty in Ohio.”
Since being elected to Ohio’s general assembly in 2011, Antonio has proposed similar legislation; however, this is the first time she has received bipartisan support, according to her press release.
Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), a cosponsor of the bill, said she backed the death penalty when she first came to the Ohio legislature nine years ago, but she has had a change of heart.
“I supported capital punishment. I believed that if you committed a heinous crime and were guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt, you deserved to die,” she said. “But here I am… it was my heart that changed. We are all sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God and we all are in need of redemption.”
Another reason Roegner cited switching her position on the death penalty was that she said she can’t be pro-life and support the death penalty.
Former Ohio Governor Tim Strickland also took to the podium to give his support for the future piece of legislation. Strickland cited his experiences as governor from 2007 to 2011 as to why he supports this bill.
“The system of justice is not perfect; death is final, and you can’t correct a mistake once a life has been taken,” he said. “For that reason more than any other, I think we should eliminate the death penalty. I regret the fact that I hadn’t taken that position when I became governor.
During the years Strickland was governor, 22 people were executed, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org.
Currently, Ohio has 140 people on death row, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Nationwide, the support for the death penalty has declined since the 1990s, according to the Pew Research Center. In 1994, 80 percent of Americans supported the death penalty; however; in 2018 only 54 percent of Americans supported the death penalty.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]