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Letter: Abolish the Death Penalty

To the Editor:

It seems like years ago that I sat in an auditorium at Plymouth State University listening to a few proponents and many opponents of the death penalty discuss its repeal in New Hampshire. I thought at the end of the meeting that abolition was a done deal. I don’t understand the debate! Of course, religious groups gave the moral reasons for abolition of the death penalty.

However, although this subject does touch many moral strings, I left that meeting feeling that abolition just makes common sense. After all, research has been done showing that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to heinous crimes and, in addition, legal costs for death penalty cases are three to five times more than the cost of lifetime incarceration without parole. New Hampshire has already spent more than $5 million on the Michael Addison case alone. Our tax money could be better spent on victim services and cold cases.

As long as the death penalty is an option in New Hampshire, there is a real and unacceptable risk of executing an innocent person. In addition, the drawn-out court cases and appeals elevate the story of the accused killer while denying victims the healing and closure they need. I am tired of the fact that we remember killers’ names and not the names of victims. Life in prison without parole is adequate punishment for murderers. Let their names and faces fade into obscurity.

Elizabeth A. Trought