Early Thursday morning, after many hours of debate, the Connecticut state Senate voted 20 to 16 to approve a bill that would repeal the death penalty, positioning the state to be the 17th in the country to do so.
The bill, which passed at 2:05 a.m., would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release for those convicted of capital offenses in the future, the Hartford Courant reported. The 11 men on Connecticut's death row would still face execution.
Death penalty opponents watched the vote closely, staying up all night for the final results.
“Connecticut's death penalty is a disaster. It fails to meet the needs of victims' families,” Equal Justice USA, a national grass-roots organization that opposes the death penalty said on its website. “It doesn't keep us any safer. It's unfair. It's risky. ... But this junkshow of a system is finally backed into a corner. Now we just have to finish it off!”
The bill will move to the state’s House of Representatives, where it has considerable support, and Gov. Dannel Malloy has agreed to sign the bill if it lands on his desk, the Courant reported.