Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Don't respond with more violence

An article in the July 7th edition of The Union.com quotes MVFHR members Amanda and Nick Wilcox:

A bill that seeks to abolish California's death penalty advanced Thursday after its first legislative hearing with support from the author of the state's death penalty and a former warden who presided over executions.

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, said she introduced the bill because California can no longer afford a capital punishment system that is both expensive and ineffective as it battles persistent multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

It has the backing of two Nevada County residents — Nick and Amanda Wilcox, whose 19-year-old daughter Laura was gunned down in 2001 by a mentally ill man, Scott Thorpe, in Grass Valley. The Wilcoxes traveled to the hearing Thursday in Sacramento to lend their support to the measure.

“We've been advocates for ending the death penalty for a long time,” said Nick Wilcox.

“We add our voice because the death penalty is often justified in the name of victims, and not all victims support it,” Amanda Wilcox said. “We were opposed to the death penalty before Laura was killed, and after she was killed it did not change our view. We don't believe in responding to violence with more violence.”

Former Nevada County District Attorney Mike Ferguson did not seek the death penalty in Thorpe's case, which was in line with the family's wishes, Nick Wilcox said.

“We believe healing comes from within, not with what happens to the offender,” Amanda Wilcox said.

If eventually signed into law, the bill would put the question before voters in November 2012.

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