Delaware Death Penalty Repeal Vote Tomorrow - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Death Penalty Repeal Vote Tomorrow

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

DOVER, Del.- Groups supporting the repeal of Delaware's death penalty made their case Wednesday at Legislative Hall in Dover.

The Delaware House of Representatives will vote on Senate Bill No. 40 on Thursday, which would completely repeal capital punishment in Delaware. The only exception is for those convicted of first-degree murder before the bill takes effect. 

The Complexities of Color Coalition, Delaware NAACP and the Interdenominational Ministers Action Council of Delaware gathered in the House of Representatives chambers to lay out their case for repealing the death penalty.

The Rev. Dr. Donald Morton of the Complexities of Color Coalitions opened the event. 

"It's time to repeal the death penalty not because it's necessarily safe or politic or popular. But because, ladies and gentlemen, repealing the death penalty is right," he said.

Rep. Timothy Dukes, a republican from Laurel, said he will not be supporting the bill.

"I don't support Senate Bill 40, because I believe that the death penalty is justice for the family, it's justice for the victim," he said. 

Some members speaking in favor of the bill made a religious argument, saying one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt not kill," and that the government should not either. 

Dukes said that is taken out of context. 

"War kills and can be very devastating. But it's really taken out of context. The purpose of that [commandment] is talking about premeditated murder. And that's where your death penalty comes in with premeditated issues," he said. 

Supporters are happy to know Gov. Jack Markell is on their side. Markell has said he would sign the bill if it came to his desk. At his State of the State address last week, he said the state of the criminal justice system is an indicator of a struggle with issues about race. 

Most representatives who spoke with WBOC on Wednesday suggested the vote will likely be close.

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