Hillyard sees wisdom in keeping the death penalty

FILE PHOTO - The Utah State Capitol is viewed Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Utah lawmakers kick off their 45-day legislative session Monday with an endless stream of budget meetings and little bit of pomp and circumstance before diving deep into hundreds of bills. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A bill that would abolish the death penalty has once again come before the Utah legislature but with the current session scheduled to end on Thursday most lawmakers doubt that the bill will be approved.

Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says he voted against scrapping the death penalty and also spoke out against the bill on the floor of the State Senate.

“I just feel like it’s a tool that allows prosecutors, especially when they are dealing with a serial killer,” Hillyard explains, “to be able to negotiate to find out the information they need to protect and help families who’s family members have been murdered by this serial killer.

“I think also it gives the victims some choice. The victim can’t choose exactly what will happen but I think if a victim’s family were to say they didn’t want the death penalty most prosecutors wouldn’t push for it.”

On the other hand, Hillyard says if family members were really adamant about it that is something the prosecutor would want to keep in mind. He said it is very difficult to get a death penalty in Utah and the last time a defendant was sentenced to death it was later changed to life in prison without parole.

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