As of 2015 the state of Missouri has increased the number of executions carried out, exceeding the former highest execution state of Texas.
Wrap: 14 witnesses spoke before the Senate General Laws & Pensions Committee today in attempt to repeal the death penalty through Bill 816, including the Missouri Sheriffs' Association, the Missouri Police Chief Assocation, activists, and acquitted citizens whom faced death row themselves. Among the committee listening to these tesimonies was Senator Dave Schatz who openly opposed the bill.
|Description: "...and we've had testimony here from people that are from the prison system that said that, you know, when we incarcerate the people that they ultimately go onto continue to kill again.And so by not killing someone we're not protecting people. So would you advocate again... that I think you should reevaluate your position... you can't have it both ways."|
Among the supporters of the bill was Joshua C. Kezer who spent 16 years in prison until exonerated.
Wrap: After being accused of murdering a woman, and wrongfully convicted, Kezer spoke before the committee explaining the harm of the death penalty for all people.
|Description: "...but when we are talking about the death penalty, we're not just talking about serial killers, women killers, children killers, men killers, race killers. We're not talking about just killers. Unfortunately, we're also talking about innocent men and women, and because we're talking about that as well, it may only be a small percentage, but it is a percentage. Because we're talking about that as well, we have to address the death penalty. We have to change our approach."|
Kevin Lee Green, another advocate of Bill 816, later approached the committee with an alternative to the death penalty.
Wrap: Green, similar to Kezer, spent over 16 years in a maximum security prison for a crime he did not commit until he was later exonerated.
|Description: "I think we've come a long way from the day that we had the gallows in the courtyard in front of the courthouse. We've come a long way in making sure we get it right- doesn't always happen. We can't risk getting it wrong one time. How do you fix that? How do you make that person that gets executed, who was innocent, whole again? When you figure it out, you can't fix it. But you can put them, basically under the prison, where they belong, until they die, and let that be at God's hand. We can't get it wrong if we just don't use the death penalty."|
After listening to the witnesses, the Senate General Laws & Pensions Committee voted to pass Bill 816 and repeal the death penalty in the state of Missouri.