Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Testifying in Alaska

From yesterday's online edition of KTUU News, "House committee hears testimony on reinstating the death penalty":

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Future murder suspects might face the death penalty if a House bill passes.

A bill to re-institute capital punishment was heard for the first time Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, which was overflowing with people hoping to testify.

Whichever way the bill goes, there will be plenty of debate.

"It is my hope we can engage in a healthy dialogue about capital punishment," said the bill's sponsor, House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.


Alaskans Against the Death Penalty says their membership has grown since the bill was filed, and churches have been organizing events to rally opposition.

"A lot of people want the death penalty as purely a matter of revenge," said Bill Pelke, another board member from Alaskans Against the Death Penalty. "But revenge is never, ever the answer. The answer is love and compassion."

Pelke's grandmother was a murder victim and he wants lawmakers to learn from his personal experience.

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