Death penalty repeal getting first serious debate in Wyoming

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the proposal Wednesday before voting 4-0 to send the bill to the full Senate.

By: Mark Goebel

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Repealing the death penalty is getting a serious look in Wyoming for the first time amid concern the sentencing option is expensive and may not deter crime.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the proposal Wednesday before voting 4-0 to send the bill to the full Senate.

Proponents of repeal include Republican Sen. Brian Boner, who says Wyoming in effect has no functioning death penalty. Boner points out that Wyoming has put to death only one person in recent decades.

Republican Sen. Anthony Bouchard says that’s a good argument for the death penalty. Bouchard says the threat of death can encourage criminals to divulge details of their crimes in hope of a lesser sentence.

Wyoming hasn’t had an inmate on death row since 2014.