MYNORTHWEST NEWS

State Senate passes bill to abolish death penalty

Feb 15, 2019, 5:02 PM | Updated: 5:03 pm

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, standing center, watches with Sen. Jaime Pedersen D-Seattle, seated...

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, standing center, watches with Sen. Jaime Pedersen D-Seattle, seated center, as votes are tallied Friday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Washington Senate has passed a bill to abolish the death penalty.

RELATED: State Supreme Court ends death penalty in Washington

Last October, the state Supreme Court unanimously struck down the death penalty, calling it arbitrary and racially biased.

The measure passed by the Senate Friday would make that court ruling permanent, by removing capital punishment as a sentencing option for aggravated murder. Instead, it would mandate a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

It now moves on to the Washington State House of Representatives. If it passes there, Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will sign it into law.

“It is time to close the chapter on this particular policy that is respectful of the judicial progress, and that is also respectful of the dialogue the American people have embraced for many years,” said State Senator Reuven Carlyle in support of the legislation.

Speaking out in opposition to the bill was State Senator Keith Wagoner, who recently introduced legislation to allow the death penalty in specific cases of inmates committing murder while incarcerated.

“Now we’ve created a criminal nirvana, where at the top level of crimes — the most heinous crimes — there’s no consequence,” he said.

Wagoner originally introduced his bill citing the 2011 murder of Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl by Byron Scherf, a convicted rapist and murderer serving a life sentence at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

RELATED: Bill introduced to allow death penalty for inmates committing murder

Gov. Inslee declared a moratorium on carrying out executions in 2014.

Additional reporting from KIRO Radio News Staff

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Medics respond to a crash in SeaTac on June 21, 2024....

Julia Dallas

3 nearly lose their lives, another injured in SeaTac crash

Five people and two cars were involved in a violent car crash in SeaTac on Friday, the King County Sheriff's Office told KIRO Newsradio.

16 hours ago

Photo: Lacey police are investigating a deadly shooting....

KIRO 7 News Staff

21-year-old arrested in Lacey double murder after police chase

A 21-year-old man led police on a chase following the murder of two people whom he lived with in Lacey.

16 hours ago

Photo: The exterior of the Boeing Company headquarters on March 25, 2024....

James Lynch

Boeing working with DOJ to avoid criminal charges

After allegedly violating the terms of a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement, Boeing is reportedly working to avoid a criminal trial.

19 hours ago

Photo: Yin May suffered severe injuries when she was hit by a driver in Kent....

Julia Dallas

Deputies searching for person who hit, nearly killed woman in Kent

King County deputies are looking for the person who almost killed a woman in Kent in a hit-and-run on Sunday.

20 hours ago

Photo: Snohomish County bus....

Bill Kaczaraba

Attacks against Community Transit drivers reveal potential troubling trend

Community Transit drivers in Snohomish County face a growing threat from violent passengers. Two drivers have been attacked recently.

20 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police Department vehicle is parked outside Lumen Field in Seattle....

Steve Coogan

Report: Seattle officer fired after previous racist comments surfaced

A Seattle Police Department officer was fired for calling his neighbor racist and sexist slurs and making other comments in 2022.

22 hours ago

State Senate passes bill to abolish death penalty