It has been several years since the Missouri House of Representatives debated the merits of the death penalty. That changed this week when Rep. T.J. Berry (R-Kearney) offered an amendment to a crime victims’ bill that would repeal the death penalty. In speaking for his amendment, Rep. Berry told his conversion story of how he changed from supporting the death penalty to realizing that it is a failed policy.
Several legislators then shared heartfelt perspectives on both sides of the issue. One legislator was a murder victim family member who opposed the death penalty. Another legislator told the story of a high school friend who was executed for a double murder. A third legislator mused about the impact executions had on the corrections workers. After a short debate, Rep. Berry withdrew his amendment without a vote. The MCC applauds Rep. Berry for raising this important public policy in the legislative arena and encourages more dialogue on this issue in the future.