Legislators from Wyoming voted against a bill that called for the abolishment of capital punishment in the state, sending out a clear message that they believe in case of certain crimes death penalties are highly warranted. Bill 97 had the backing of serious religious groups but was defeated through a 5-4 vote in the house.
Proponents of the bill argued that the law and the government should not have the right to determine who lives and who does not; particularly, when many states have innocent blood on their hands as it was later found that several of the inmates who were executed were actually innocent. Those opposed to the removal of death penalty said that when the crime is exceptionally heinous, knowing that the perpetrator has been made to pay with his/her life, offers some modicum of comfort to the relatives of the victims.
Nathan Winters, the representative from Thermopolis, who was opposed to the bill, said that by abolishing the death penalty they would be making a statement that the victim’s loss of life was not a serious enough issue. Also, he said that this would send out a wrong message to criminals accused of such gruesome acts that their well being is prioritized even over the victim’s life.
While this bill has been ousted, another that will eventually come up for deliberation is one that allows the state to use a firing squad for executions instead of the current method. At present, there have been no executions in Wyoming since 1992.