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Bill to End Capital Punishment Set for Hearing in House Committee

Frankfort, KY. (February 17, 2000)-- House Bill 514, which proposes to eliminate Kentuckyís death penalty and substituting life-in-prison without possibility of parole, is set for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee at 12:00 noon on Thursday, February 17, in Room 125 of the Capitol Annex.

Representative Bob Heleringer ( R ), filed the bill last month, will present an overview of how the death penalty is unnecessary, expensive, violent and immoral. New polling data from the University of Louisville will be introduced showing a significant reduction in public support for the death penalty. The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Eleanor Jordan (D), Mary Lou Marzian (D), Jim Wayne (D) and Tom Burch (D). The committee will hear new testimony about Kentucky's first known wrongfully convicted case of innocence. The Committee will hear from an attorney representing one of Kentucky's Death Row inmates and Reverend J. Richard Sullivan of Elizabethtown, a Roman Catholic priest working to prove his childhood friend innocent of murder.

Testimony will include testimony on the expense of capital punishment, costing Kentuckyís taxpayers one million dollars more per case by Professor Gary Potter. The Eastern Kentucky University professor of police studies will give an overview of the cost involved as well as the "brutalizing effect" on society.

Reverend Nancy Jo Kemper, Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches (KCC), will stress how every mainline denomination support for ending the use of capital punishment. KCC is one of 38 supporting partners for the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and its Abolition 2000 Campaign.

Another person who will testify is Paul Stevens of Dawson Springs, Ky. Mr. Stevenís daughter was brutally murdered in 1969 while was babysitting in 1969. Mr. Stevens, so overcome with grief, he could not face being reminded of the crime in his Evansville, IN. neighborhood. He and his family moved to Dawson Springs, KY. While working through his grief, a Roman Catholic chaplain invited him to visit some of the Death Row inmates at Eddyville State Penitentiary.

For Stevens, this was an outlet he had been searching for. He now serves as volunteer Catholic chaplain. He worked as a spiritual adviser for Harold McQueen, who was executed in June 1997, and Eddie Lee Harper, the first person executed by lethal injection.

For additional information, contact Kaye Gallagher, Abolition 2000 Campaign Coordinator, at (502) 634-6005 or Rep. Heleringer at (502) 564-8100, extension 619.

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Catholic Conference of Kentucky

1042 Burlington Lane

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

502-875-4345 502-875-2841 Fax cckstaffATccky.org

Last modified: October, 2010