Senator Paul Wieland (R-Imperial) has sponsored a bill for the past six years that would repeal the death penalty in Missouri. Today is the first time a Senate committee will consider his proposal. Wieland said more money is spent on appeals for criminals given the death penalty than a sentence of life in prison.
“I think it’s fiscally responsible. From a moral standpoint, I’m a pro-life person. I don’t think the state should be taking someone’s life, especially because we are in a civilized society. If we lived in the old west and that guy was going to get out and kill more people, then I could see the need to protect society,” said Wieland.
Under his proposal, those on death row would instead be given a sentence of life without parole.
“In some ways I think that by having the death penalty and allowing all these appeals, it creates more heartache for the families of the victims,” said Wieland.
Wieland used to support the death penalty but changed his mind because he doesn’t believe it stops someone from committing a crime. He said it’s possible to be against the death penalty and tough on crime.
“I would argue in some cases it’s tougher for a person to have to live their natural life in prison than for the state to execute them in a comfortable way,” said Wieland.
Six Republicans and one Democrat are co-sponsoring this year’s House bill.
Missouri is one of 31 states that uses the death penalty.