The Hartford Courant reports that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy quietly signed a bill repealing Connecticut’s death penalty on Wednesday, ending a practice that has been state policy since a Native American named Napauduck was hanged for murder in 1639. “I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut,” Malloy said after a solemn ceremony closed to the press and public. “Although it is an historic moment – Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action – it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration.”
About 30 guests crowded into the governor’s office at the state Capitol to watch him sign the bill, which had cleared both chambers of the General Assembly earlier this month. Among them were members of the clergy, legislative leaders and people who have lost family members to homicide. Capital punishment has been a part of the state’s criminal code since Colonial times. In the past 52 years, only two men–Michael Ross, in 2005, and Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky, in 1960–have been executed by the state in Connecticut.