New Hampshire Closer to Ending Death Penalty After House Vote

New Hampshire's House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in support of a measure that would repeal the state's death penalty practice. Although the measure's fate has yet to be determined by a Senate vote, the state's governor has made it clear she would sign a repeal ending the death penalty practice.

The state's House of Representatives voted 225 to 104 Wednesday in support of the bill. If the bill becomes law, New Hampshire will become the 19th state to abolish the death penalty.

Some lawmakers supporting the appeal also pushed for an amendment that would allow the state's only death penalty row inmate, Michael Addison, to also have his life spared. Addison was convicted of shooting Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs to death in an alley in 2006. Ultimately, the amendment that would have spared Addison failed, 85 to 245, and Gov. Hassan has said she would only sign a repeal that didn't include an amendment sparing Addison.

Those who supported the repeal spoke out against the damaging effects of the death penalty. Addison's death penalty case is expected to cost the state upwards of $8-$10 million.

Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), the bill's sponsor who lost his father and brother-in-law in two separate murder incidents, said he supports the repeal for moral reasons.

"[The death penalty] would only give more power to the murders, more power to the killer,'' Cushing said. ''If we let those who kill turn us into killers, evil triumphs, violence triumphs.''

Robert Hirschfeld, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, lauded the work done by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. "I applaud the diligent, respectful work of the representatives and pray the same spirit will fill the Senate in the weeks ahead."

Those who opposed the death penalty repeal argued that New Hampshire is already prudent in using its death penalty law, as there is an extensive list of requirements the convicted must meet before being put on death row.

"This is not Texas," said Republican Representative Keith Murphy, who opposed the death penalty repeal bill. "We are not executing prisoners every week."