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Conn. Supreme Court taking up death penalty repeal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the state's repeal of the death penalty for future crimes violates the constitutional rights of the 11 men on the state's death row.

Justices are scheduled to hear the case tomorrow.

The arguments come in the case of former Torrington resident Eduardo Santiago, who was sentenced to death for the 2000 killing of a West Hartford man in exchange for a broken snowmobile.

The state Supreme Court overturned the death sentence and ordered a new penalty phase last year. But the ruling came two months after the state repealed the death penalty for murders committed after April 24, 2012.

Justice will decide whether the repeal law bars the state from executing the death row inmates.

 

Former State Senate Andrew Roraback, now a Judge in Connecticut, had long opposed the death penalty but voted against the repeal bill on grounds of certain provisions in it.  He said the 11 people on death row would continue to face execution if the bill was approved, and he disagreed with that.  He called it "inconsistent".

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan also opposed the repeal bill.  He said Connecticut would be at a disadvantage not having the death penalty for egregious crimes.  He added that listening to the testimony of Dr. William Petit, whose wife and two daughters were killed in a home invasion, in favor of the death penalty solidified his position.