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Death Penalty Bill Passes Senate, Moves To House

Utah Senators discussed Senate Bill 189, Death Penalty Amendments on Monday morning. 

The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Stephen Urquhart, would abolish the death penalty. Senate Bill 189, discussed in committees last week, states that on and after May 10, 2016, an offense of aggravated murder committed before that date, in which the death penalty has not been sought, may not be charged as a capital offense and provides that an aggravated murder committed on or after May 10, may not be brought as a capital felony.

Speaking on UPR’s Access Utah, Steve Shapiro, a Salt Lake City attorney, says he opposes the death penalty. His parents were murdered four years ago.

“Justice for me would be to have my parents back, to have my kids to be able to have a grandparent. That would be justice. (And) were the legislators to allow me to beat the convicted killer to death with my bare hands, that wouldn’t be justice either. There isn’t really anything that can be imposed by the courts that can even approximate fairness.”

Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard is opposing the bill.

“First of all, I think it should be up to the victims’ families. I’m perfectly comfortable if that family wants to step forward and say, 'We don’t want the death penalty in this case.' But, I think those families who do want the death penalty and want to keep it should.”

Senate Bill 189 passed the Senate and will now move to the House for a vote.

Listen to Monday's Access Utah on the Senate Bill 189 here.