Opponents to the death penalty are encouraged the legislature has Nebraska on the brink of eliminating capital punishment.
Executive Director Stacy Anderson with Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty claims there are many problems with the death penalty, including how prosecutors use it for leverage.
“We do know that the death penalty is being used to secure plea deals and that should cause all of us to be concerned that there are innocent people sitting in prison right now, just because the death penalty is on the books,” Anderson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Nebraska Innocence Project Executive Director Tracy Hightower-Henne also worries the death penalty has coerced false confessions.
“I can’t fathom being threatened with the death penalty and wondering what I would do in that situation, but if we didn’t have a death penalty that threat can’t be made,” Hightower-Henne tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Both Hightower-Henne and Anderson say Nebraska’s experience with the Beatrice Six has turned many against the death penalty. Six people were falsely convicted in the rape and murder of Helen Wilson in her Beatrice home in 1985.
State legislators voted 32-15 to repeal the death penalty. Gov. Pete Ricketts has promised to veto LB 268. Supporters of repeal will need 30 votes to override a veto.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]