Connecticut is poised to become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty after the Senate passed a bill early today repealing capital punishment, the Hartford Courant reports. The 20-16 vote came at 2:05 a.m., after more than 10 hours of debate. The measure moves to the House of Representatives, where it has broad support. Gov. Dannel Malloy has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.
The fate of the repeal drive was sealed this week, when several one-time supporters of capital punishment indicated they were switching their stance. Several of them spoke, often in bluntly personal terms, in the floor of the chamber. “It’s no secret I have agonized over this issue,” said Sen. Edith Prague. A one-time supporter of the death penalty, the Democrat has changed her position twice since 2009. Today, Prague said, “I cannot stand the thought of being responsible for someone being falsely accused and facing the death penalty.” The bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release.