NH Is Less Safe

To the Editor:

The NH Senate decision to override the governor’s death penalty veto on a 16 to 8 vote makes the Granite State all that much less safe and soft on crime.

In the past, having death penalty laws on the books has played a major deterrent role for anyone who has thought about murdering a law enforcement officer or judge. Previously, other death penalty categories also included kidnapping, murder for hire, aggravated felonious sexual assault etc.

Let’s not forget Michael Woodbury, the former Mainer, who killed three people in Conway in 2007. In 2008, As a District 3 State Senator, I tried to expand the NH Death Penalty law in New Hampshire to include multiple murders on the book. I had the support of the Attorney General at the time. It was held up in the Democratically controlled Senate and the legislation was swept under the carpet. Now, we learned Woodbury killed an inmate in Florida last year while serving a life sentence in prison and the Florida judge in charge of the case has recommended the death penalty.

New Hampshire has not conducted an execution in the state since July of 1939. It has not been a major issue in the state and its historic practice has been used sparingly. The repeal of the current death penalty laws was totally unnecessary. Having strong death penalty laws on the book has been a major deterrent to capital crimes and a major plea bargaining tool for prosecutors. Now we as taxpayers will have to house criminals who have committed heinous capital crimes for the rest of their lives, which will cost us millions of dollars.

There is only one person on death row in NH now and his name is Michael Addison. He is the man who shot and killed Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006 and he was later sentenced to death in 2008. It is a clear cut case, however, it has dragged on for ten years at a cost of $2.5 million making the attorneys a lot richer. In the end, we as citizens want justice and protection. The old death penalty law in NH provided us both.

I want to thank District 1 state senator David Starr of Franconia for supporting the governor and trying to sustain the death penalty veto. He stood with law enforcement, families of crime victims, and advocates for justice.

Joseph D. Kenney

Wakefield, N.H.

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