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With Death Penalty Repealed, Conn. Lawmaker Concerned About Future Cases

An execution chamber is seen in Huntsville, TX - Jun 23, 2000 - Photo: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

File – An execution chamber (Photo: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) —  The death penalty has been officially abolished for future cases in Connecticut, but one state lawmaker says the decision will only hinder the way the state deals with the most hardened and heinous of criminals.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the legislation into law on Wednesday, making Connecticut the 17th state to abolish capital punishment.

“I don’t believe that Connecticut should be putting people to death,” Malloy told WCBS 880. “This is a sentence that has been mistakenly applied many, many times.”

The repeal would not affect the sentences of the 11 inmates already on Connecticut’s death row, but Republican State Sen. John Kissel said there are concerns about cases in the future.

“I have always believed and many of my colleagues believe that the criminal justice system is very well served by having a death penalty on the books,” he told WCBS 880. “One of the concerns that we have is even though they say that perpetrators going forward will serve life without the possibility of release, there’s a question as to how that sentence will be served.”

Malloy signed the legislation on the same day that a Quinnipiac University poll found 62 percent of voters in Connecticut actually support the death penalty.

“There’s always been a huge number of legislators, primarily on the Democratic side in the Connecticut Legislature, in favor of repealing the death penalty,” Kissel said. “So even though recent polls have shown wide margins of support for the death penalty in Connecticut, the majority party was definitely able to get the votes lined up this year to push it through.”

There has only been one execution carried out in Connecticut in 51 years. In 2005, serial killer Michael Ross was administered lethal injection.

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