Ayotte fears killer Addison's sentence will be commuted
Appearing on WGIR radio this morning on Jack Heath's show, Ayotte refuted the contention that repealing the death penalty would have no effect on Addison's death sentence for killing Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.
"I think that is absurd. These people who are voting on this need to understand they could effectively be commuting Michael Addison's sentence — or reducing his sentence for having killed Michael Briggs in the line of duty," Ayotte said. "I think that is wrong. I think it is sending the absolute wrong message. That may be a good political explanation, but it is not a good legal explanation."
Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 2-2 to kill House Bill 1170.
After an all-day public hearing last week largely in support of repealing the death penalty, concern was raised about whether repeal would affect Addison's sentence.
Under the bill, Addison's death sentence does not change, although several people including Ayotte contend it could lead to his sentence being commuted.
Supporters had hoped to amend the bill to make it clearer that Addison would remain on death row if the bill passes. They expect to attempt to amend the bill when it is on the Senate floor April 17.
Repeal proponents are buoyed by Gov. Maggie Hassan's support and the 225-104 House vote to repeal.
The vote in the Senate is expected to be close and likely to be decided by one or two senators.
In committee Tuesday, Carson and Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, voted to kill the bill, while Sens. Sam Cataldo, R-Farmington, and Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, two bill sponsors, voted against killing the bill.
Sen. Donna Soucey, D-Manchester, had to take her father to an appointment and was unable to return in time for the committee vote.
New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939. Addison is the only New Hampshire inmate on death row.