A Texas Republican senator whose support was crucial to the Senate’s approval of a sentence of life without parole for capital murder believes it would lead to fewer death sentences, the Dallas Morning News reports. “I would expect if we pass this bill there will be, frankly, fewer executions in this state,” said Sen. Steve Ogden. Sen. Eddie Lucio, author of the bill approved yesterday, said the difference, if any, would be small because polls show that Texans overwhelmingly support the death penalty. Rep. Terry Keel, chairman of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, said the measure is likely to win House approval and head to Gov. Rick Perry, who has not said whether he would sign or veto it.
Lucio argued that in some cases, jurors should get three options: death, life without parole, and life with the possibility of parole. “I think there will always be circumstances where an individual might not be a danger to society in the future,” Lucio said. Under current law, a suspect may be sentenced to life if circumstances in his background like severe abuse or mental retardation mitigate against use of the death penalty. That is where life with the possibility of parole is useful, defense lawyers said.