Marshall Griffin, KWMU
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (2009-05-13) The Missouri House has passed a crime bill that includes authorizing a commission to study the use of the death penalty in the state.
The original amendment called for a moratorium on executions in Missouri while the study is conducted, but it was stripped out on a mostly party-line vote.
State Representative Kenny Jones (R, California) was sheriff of Moniteau County in 1991 when his wife and three deputies were murdered in a shooting rampage. He says supporting a moratorium equates to being soft on crime.
"Often we don't think about those victims of murders...it's just not only the victims, but the families that are affected throughout their lifetime," Jones said.
Fellow Republican Bill Deeken of Jefferson City had sponsored the moratorium.
"I am for the death penalty, but I would appreciate the fact if we could get the vote for the commission to study, and make sure that we are not putting someone to death that is not guilty," Deeken said.
House and Senate negotiators will try to craft a final version of the bill before the end of session Friday.
During debate, House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) also called on Governor Nixon to halt next week's scheduled execution of Dennis Skillicorn and commute his sentence to life in prison.
He and two other men were convicted in the 1994 murder of Richard Drummond.
Skillicorn received the death penalty, although one of his companions confessed to pulling the trigger.