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Death penalty repeal headed again to Senate, which is likely to kill it

CONCORD – By a two-to-one majority, the House reiterated its desire to end the state’s death penalty for capital murder.

The House voted 218-117 for the amendment that repeals the death penalty before voting 226-110 to approve Senate Bill 202, sending the bill back to the Senate.

Last month, the Senate split 12-12 on whether repeal should move forward before tabling the bill. Two months ago, the House approved repeal on a 225-104 vote.

Repeal supporters say lawmakers need another opportunity to vote on the issue after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, when the lethal injection process went awry, leaving him alive until he died later from a massive heart attack.

“The events in Oklahoma warrant giving legislators another opportunity this year to get New Hampshire out of the execution business,” said House Bill 1170’s prime sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, whose father was shot and killed by an off-duty Hampton police officer.

But repeal opponents blamed repeal supporters for the botched execution attempt, saying they convinced European countries not to send effective drugs used in the past to the United States.

“They only need to look into the mirror,” said Rep. Keith Murphy, R-Bedford. “They want to use the tragedy they caused to paint the death penalty as inhumane.”

The Senate is likely to kill SB 202.

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