FIRST ON KHQ.COM: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Suspends Death Pen - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FIRST ON KHQ.COM: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Suspends Death Penalty

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Gov. Jay Inslee is suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state.
    
The Democrat says he came to the decision after months of review and hopes his action will enable the state to join what he calls "a growing national conversation about capital punishment."
    
According to a draft statement obtained by The Associated Press, Inslee says the death penalty is applied inconsistently and unequally.
    
The governor's staff briefed lawmakers about the move on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
    
Inslee's moratorium means that if a death penalty case comes to his desk, he will issue a reprieve, which is not a pardon and does not commute the sentences of those condemned to death.

Offenders Sentenced to the Death Penalty


1. JONATHAN LEE GENTRY convicted June 26, 1991 of fatally bludgeoning Cassie Holden, 12, on June 13, 1988 in Kitsap County.

2. CLARK RICHARD ELMORE convicted on July 6, 1995 of one count of aggravated first degree murder and one count of rape in the second degree for the rape and murder of Christy Onstad, 14, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend on April 17, 1995 in Whatcom County.

3. DWAYNE A. WOODS convicted on June 20, 1997 of two counts of aggravated first degree murder for the murders of Telisha Shaver, 22, and Jade Moore, 18, on April 27, 1996 in Spokane County.

4. CECIL EMILE DAVIS convicted February 6, 1998 of one count of aggravated first degree murder for the suffocation/asphyxiation murder of Yoshiko Couch, 65, with a poisonous substance after burglarizing her home, robbing and then raping her January 25, 1997 in Pierce County.

5. DAYVA MICHAEL CROSS convicted June 22, 2001 for the stabbing deaths of his wife Anouchka Baldwin, 37, and stepdaughters Amanda Baldwin, 15, and Salome Holle, 18 in King County on March 6, 1999.

6. ROBERT LEE YATES JR. convicted September 19, 2002 of murdering Melinda Mercer, 24, in 1997 and Connie LaFontaine Ellis, 35, in 1998 in Pierce County.

7. CONNER MICHAEL SCHIERMAN convicted April 12, 2010 of four counts of aggravated first degree murder in the deaths of Olga Milkin, 28; her sons Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3; and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, July 16, 2006 in King County.

8. ALLEN EUGENE GREGORY reconvicted May 15, 2012 of first-degree aggravated murder for the rape and murder of 43-year-old Geneine “Genie” Harshfield on July 26, 1996 in Pierce County. Originally convicted and sentenced to death on May 25, 2001, Gregory’s case was overturned by the Washington Supreme Court on November 30, 2006. The original charge was upheld in a retrial and the death sentence was reissued on June 13, 2012.

9. BYRON SCHERF convicted May 9, 2013 of aggravated first-degree murder for the murder of Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl on Jan. 29, 2011 while she was on duty at the Washington State Reformatory Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County.

MORE INFORMATION:

On Tuesday Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statements regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that he is implementing a moratorium on all executions as long as he serves as governor.“Washington’s Constitution and state statutes grant the governor significant powers over the fate of individuals sentenced to death,” Ferguson said. “Consequently, the governor has the authority to hit the “pause” button for executions in Washington.”

Article III, Section 9 of the Washington Constitution and RCW 10.01.120 grant the Governor authority to issue reprieves — or stays of execution— as he announced he intended to do today.

Washington currently has nine death row inmates. All nine are challenging their convictions in state or federal court. The Attorney General’s Office is handling the four cases currently in federal court.

The Office of Attorney General represents the state of Washington when death row inmates file “habeas corpus” petitions— or challenges to their convictions or sentences—with the federal courts. The Attorney General’s Office also represents the Department of Corrections in state and federal court litigation challenging death row inmates’ conditions of confinement and DOC’s execution policies and procedures.

“Consistent with the governor’s announcement, the Office of the Attorney General will continue to defend the state against cases brought by death row inmates challenging their convictions and sentences,” Ferguson said.

Death penalty:  Which states have it, which don't?

 SEATTLE (AP) - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday a moratorium on the death penalty in his state.
   
Inslee said the suspension of capital punishment will be in place for as long as he is governor. Here's a look at the death penalty laws nationally:
   
STATES WITH THE DEATH PENALTY
   
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
   
STATES THAT HAVE ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY
   
Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
   


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  • KHQ Online Poll

  • Gov. Inslee suspends death penalty in Washington state. Do you agree with that decision?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes
    18%
    91 votes
    No
    82%
    423 votes