Efforts to Repeal Death Penalty in State Appear Unlikely

Efforts to repeal Connecticut’s death penalty this year appeared in doubt Wednesday after a key state senator informed her leadership that she has agreed not to support repeal at the request of Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor of a 2007 Cheshire home invasion in which his wife and daughters were killed.
Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, said Petit and his sister recently met with her and asked her not to support the repeal legislation. Even though the bill states that it only affects future capital felony crimes, she said Petit is concerned that the second suspect in his family’s slaying, Joshua Komisarjevsky, could use the repeal as the basis for an appeal and possibly not face capital punishment.

“Whatever he would have asked me to do, I would have done, because that family doesn’t deserve any more stress or aggravation,” Prague said of Petit. “So, I’m going to honor their request. I want to do a little something for them.”

Prague has voted for the death penalty in the past. A granddaughter of one of her neighbors was a victim of serial killer Michael Ross, the last person to be executed in Connecticut. He was put to death in 2005.

Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, said he met recently with Petit. He said Petit did not persuade him to change his long-held stance as a death penalty opponent. However, Roraback said he agrees with the doctor that repealing the death penalty could affect Komisarjevsky’s sentencing and understands his effort to reach out to senators.

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