New Hampshire Ends Death Penalty

The death penalty was abolished Thursday in the U.S. state of New Hampshire when the state’s Senate overrode the governor’s veto.

In a 16-to-8 vote, the New Hampshire Senate overturned Governor Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill to end the death penalty as a punishment for murder. Thursday’s Senate vote followed a similar veto override in the state House of Representatives last week.

“I am incredibly disappointed that the Senate chose to override my veto,” said Sununu.

On May 3, Sununu vetoed the bill that would have removed the possibility of the death penalty in cases of capital murder.

There hasn’t been an execution in New Hampshire since 1939.

At the time of the veto override, the only person on New Hampshire’s death row was Michael Addison, who was sentenced to death in 2008 for the killing of Police Officer Michael Briggs two years earlier.

Sununu called the bill “an injustice to not only Officer Briggs and his family, but to law enforcement and victims of violent crime around the state.”

Representative David Danielson, a Republican, had called for an override of the veto, urging members to “vote your conscience.”

“Now it’s up to us to stop this practice that is archaic, costly, discriminatory and final,” said Senator Melanie Levesque, a Democrat.

Representative Laura Pantelakos, a Democrat, stressed that she could both support law enforcement and support the repeal. “As a mother-in-law of a slain police officer, I know I can honor them and support repeal of the death penalty,” she said.

Thursday’s Senate action makes New Hampshire the 21st U.S. state to repeal the death penalty.