Bi-Partisan group looks to end Montana death penalty

Sen. Dave Wanzenried (D-Missoula) at podium with Rep. Doug Kary (R-Billings), Sen. Matthew Rosendale (R-Glendive), and Rep. Margie MacDonald (D-Billings) behind

Sen. Dave Wanzenried (D-Missoula) at podium with Rep. Doug Kary (R-Billings), Sen. Matthew Rosendale (R-Glendive), and Rep. Margie MacDonald (D-Billings) behind

A bi-partisan group of legislators believes they have “good prospects” of abolishing Montana’s death penalty. The group of two Democrats and two Republicans want to replace the death penalty with life in prison

Efforts to repeal the death penalty have cleared the State Senate the last two legislative sessions, but died in the House.

At a Monday press conference put on by the Montana Abolition Coalition, Representative Margie MacDonald (D-Billings) said 2013 may be different.

“This will allow us to focus our resources, our energy and quit spending millions of dollars trying to pursue capital punishment and instead focus those resources on our correctional system, on addressing the needs of our victims,” she said defending abolition.

Senator Matthew Rosendale (R-Glendive) said he is co-sponsoring the bill as a man of faith. He says the bill to abolish the death penalty is part of an effort to affirm the sanctity of life, and “It’s that respect for all life that brings us here together with folks from around the entire state to work to abolish the death penalty here in Montana.”

Supporters of the bill say the death penalty makes it possible to execute an innocent person.

Those in favor to the death penalty say it is an important deterrent and fair justice.

Montana currently has two inmates on death row.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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