N.H. House Votes to Abolish Death Penalty, Sununu Vows Veto

Apr 27, 2018

NHPR file photo of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House voted 223-116 Thursday to pass a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state.

New Hampshire's last execution took place in 1939 and the state currently has one person on death row.

Rep. Jeanine Notter, R-Merrimack, spoke in favor of maintaining capital punishment.

"That doesn't mean that I think that every murderer should get the death penalty, only the worst of the worst," Notter said.

Currently, New Hampshire law states the death penalty can only be applied in certain cases, which include the murder of law enforcement and homicide committed during a burglary.

Supporters of the bill cite what they say are excessive legal costs associated with death row cases and the risk of executing the innocent.

Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, whose father was murdered in 1988, contends it goes against the values of the state. 

"New Hampshire has never been in love with the death penalty," Cushing said. "New Hampshire values civil liberties, it values human rights. New Hampshire can live without the death penalty."

New Hampshire is the only state in New England to have the death penalty. 

The bill cleared the Senate voted 14-10 last month. Governor Chris Sununu has promised to veto the measure.

(This article was updated Thursday afternoon.)