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Connecticut lawmakers vote to repeal death penalty

Updated at 11:20 p.m. ET: HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Connecticut House of Representatives gave final legislative approval on Wednesday to repeal of the state's death penalty, moving it one step closer to becoming the fifth U.S. state in five years to abandon capital punishment.

The 86-62 vote in the Democratic-controlled House followed last week's Senate vote and sends the bill to Governor Dannel Malloy, who has vowed to sign it into law.


The House move follows a 20-16 vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate on April 5 to repeal the death penalty. Once Malloy sings the bill into law, Connecticut will become the fifth U.S. state in five years to abandon capital punishment.

Connecticut's measure would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. An amendment added in the Senate provided that future felons, convicted of life sentences without parole, would be subject to the same harsh conditions as Connecticut inmates now on Death Row.

The 11 men there now would still face execution, since the law would only apply to future sentences.

A similar bill was defeated last year in Connecticut, just as the high-profile trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky was getting under way for his role in a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire in which a mother and her two daughters were brutalized and killed.

Komisarjevsky and another man are now on Death Row for the murders. The only survivor of the Cheshire attack, Dr. William Petit Jr. - the husband of the murdered woman and the father of the murdered girls - has spoken out against repeal.

Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey have all voted to abolish the death penalty in recent years, while New York's death penalty law was declared unconstitutional in 2004. That state's legislature has repeatedly rejected attempts to reinstate capital punishment.

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