Virginia lawmakers vote to abolish the death penalty

Virginia lawmakers vote to abolish the death penalty


RICHMOND, Va. — State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to legislation that will end capital punishment in Virginia, a dramatic turnaround for a state that has executed more people in its long history than any other.

The legislation repealing the death penalty now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.

“There’s a realization that it is time to end this outdated practice that tends to bring more harm to victims’ family members than providing us any comfort or solace,” said Rachel Sutphin, whose father, Cpl. Eric Sutphin, was fatally shot in 2006 while working for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

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William Morva, the man convicted of killing Eric Sutphin, was executed in 2017. Two years later, Rachel Sutphin was one of 13 family members of murder victims who sent a letter to the General Assembly asking lawmakers to abolish the death penalty.

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