New Hampshire’s Senate narrowly failed to repeal the death penalty on Thursday, in a vote that capped weeks of emotional debate while focusing attention on the state’s lone death row inmate, reports Reuters. The Senate deadlocked 12 to 12 on a bill to abolish capital punishment. Passage required a simple majority. New Hampshire’s House had earlier passed the bill, and first-term Governor Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, had said she would sign it.
New Hampshire would have been the 19th state to scrap the death penalty. The repeal would not have been retroactive, but the debate focused attention on Michael Addison, 33, who became New Hampshire’s only death row inmate in 2008 for fatally shooting a policeman. New Hampshire has not executed a prisoner since 1939. There have been 17 executions in the U.S. so far this year. A Gallup poll released in October showed 60 percent of Americans favor capital punishment for convicted murderers, the lowest percentage since 1972.