Lights & Sirens

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Death penalty for child killers?

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Feb. 5, 2007 at 11:00 am |
February 5, 2007 11:00 am

The death penalty has been a hot topic down in Olympia this legislative session.

It’s been a topic of much discussion ever since the death penalty was taken off the table for confessed Green River Killer Gary Ridgway. Last week, King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng decided to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing four members of a Kirkland family. It’s the first time Maleng has sought the death penalty since the Ridgway case.

Washington lawmakers are considering bills to limit the death penalty. Last week, state Republican Sen. Don Benton introduced a bill that makes murdering a child a death penalty case. The proposed legislation applies to victims age 14 and younger.

Right now, prosecutors could seek the death penalty against someone charged with aggravated first-degree murder and whose crimes include killing a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, killing someone for membership in an identifiable group, and being paid to kill someone.

"I think killing a child is one of the worst crimes anyone could commit," Benton said in a press release last week. "These victims are defenseless, and their murderers should face the harshest penalties possible."

Senate Bill 5706 has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a possible hearing.

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