Aug 28, 2014
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Regardless of law, NH not ready to enforce death penalty
The effort to repeal the death penalty in New Hampshire could be picked up again this week, following approval last week of a committee amendment that tacked language onto a bill involving the crime of burglary.
The amendment passed the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, 13-5, with the amended bill passing, 14-4. Cushing said he expects the amended bill to go before the House on Wednesday and, if passed, would return to the Senate for further consideration.
"I don't think the Senate has an appetite to take this up again, but you never know; crazier things have happened," said D'Alessandro. "I haven't seen anything that would cause me to change my vote."
"He is isolated, for the most part," said Lyons.
Lyons said Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn and other prison officials have been looking at protocols put in place in New Hampshire during the 1930s and consulting prison officials in other states to put together a composite of "best practices."
"We haven't put in a request for those funds," said Lyons.
The last person executed in New Hampshire was Howard Long, an Alton shopkeeper. Long was hanged at the State Prison for Men in Concord on July 14, 1939, after being convicted of killing and sexually assaulting a young boy in Alton. Prior to Long's death, 11 other prisoners had been executed by hanging going back to 1869. Lyons, who said he has researched Long's execution extensively, said the room where he was hanged is now a recreation room for prisoners.
The rope used to hang Long was subsequently cut into pieces and distributed to law enforcement agencies across the state to serve as a reminder of the execution. Lyons said the noose had been hung on a prison wall before it was put away for historical preservation.
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