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Gov. Richardson signed legislation late Wednesday repealing the death penalty in New Mexico.
Richardson made the decision, he said, after going to the state penitentiary, where he saw the death chamber and visited the maximum security unit where those sentenced to life without parole could be housed.
“My conclusion was those cells are something that may be worse than death,” he said. “I believe this is a just punishment.”
Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy discussed the governor’s decision during an interview this morning.
“As a law enforcement person I’ve always supported the death penalty for the most heinous crimes, however, it’s been my opinion that the death penalty loses its value if it’s not applied in a timely manner,” Torpy said. “It’s been years since the death penalty has been exercised in New Mexico and that makes it lose its deterrent value. It’s diminished and to deter criminal activities, we need to enforce stronger sentences across the board.”
The repeal, which passed the state Senate by a 24-18 vote Friday and was approved by the House a month earlier, takes effect July 1.
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