In the middle of the trial of Steven Hayes, whose lawyer admits he raped and murdered Jennifer Hawke-Petit in Cheshire three years during one of the most horrible crimes in Connecticut history, it’s tough to speak out against the death penalty.
But state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat, said he still thinks it’s a bad idea.
“The death penalty is the biggest joke that I ever heard,” Colapietro said. Voting against it, he said, “is just plain old common sense.”
He said that while he could “vote either way” on the death penalty in the abstract, he opposes it because he’s concerned the state might put an innocent person to death someday and because the existing system is merely a way to lawyers employed.
“The only people who are going to make money from it are the lawyers,” said Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who has represented the 31st District since 1992. He said as long as attorneys can file endless appeals, they’ll keep raking it in from death penalty cases.
Colapietro’s Republican challenger, Jason Welch of Bristol, said the state needs “a viable death penalty.”
He said the Petit case itself shows that society should have the death penalty as “the last resort” for especially heinous crimes.
Colapietro countered that because Welch is a lawyer – who handles claims related to construction cases – he would naturally want to keep the death penalty.
The death penalty, he said, “is job security for lawyers.”
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