Conservative Group Seeks End of State Death Penalty in Georgia

A national conservative group representative was calling for an end to capital punishment Thursday at the Capitol, one week prior to a Winder woman’s scheduled execution for the arrangement of her husband’s murder.

Kelly Gissendaner was scheduled for lethal injection at the Jackson state prison for her husband Douglas’s murder of 1997. Gissendaner is the first female to be killed by the state since 1945 and was the sole female on the state’s death row.

Marc Hyden is advocacy coordinator on the Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty based out of New York. According to Hyden, the death penalty is prone to error, an ineffective deterrent for crime, and expensive.

Hyden was invited to speak at the weekly meeting of a conservative lobbyist group, where he told members capital punishment should offend those who care about innocent life. Conservatives who doubt the government’s ability to handle education, healthcare, and other duties should be equally skeptical about allowing them to administer the death penalty, according to Hyden.

The conservative group representative shed some new information on several lobbyists he spoke to who were surprised the costs of a trial for the death penalty costs around three times the amount of regular murder trials, and the price of housing a person on death row and appeals are much more and the process lasts longer.

One of the lobbyists, Louie Hunter, said those statistics were news to him and that minds are being changed by the facts on the matter.

However, Republican leaders discounted any possibility of capital punishment’s repeal in Georgia soon.

Josh McKoon, Senate Judiciary Chairman, commented the only area he expects to see change in Georgia’s laws on capital punishment is for making it easier for the attorney of a defendant to prove the presence of mental retardation.

Senator Judson Hill agreed, saying he doesn’t see a reason to change Georgia’s and national law.