A Massachusetts lawmaker wants to bring the death penalty back to one of America’s most liberal states, and it’s all because of the killing of one of the state’s own law enforcement officers.
State Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, a Republican (yes, even in Taxachusetts) told WFXT-TV it was high time criminals faced the ultimate punishment for committing one of the most serious crimes there is.
“Massachusetts has a reputation for being soft on crime and unfortunately that hurts our public safety,” Rep. O’Connell said.
“We need to send a message to criminals that ‘you kill law enforcement officers you are going to get the death penalty.'”
The move comes in the wake of the slaying of Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon last week.
According to MassLive, the 32-year-old officer was shot and killed last week as he served a warrant. Police say that Thomas Latanowich, a man who had 114 previous offenses on his record, killed the officer and shot his K-9 dog Nero, who survived.
Latanowich, who was on probation when he was arrested for a gun violation, is being held without bail.
“Sean leaves a legacy of high moral integrity, infectious humor, and collaborative work with colleagues,” Gannon’s obituary read.
“He enjoyed travel, working with his hands, donating his time to Big Brother/Big Sister and being outside. He loved spending time with his family and friends. Sean was deeply intuitive and inspired others to be there best selves.”
Gannon’s death and the murder of Massachusetts Officer Ronald Tarantino in 2016 are reason enough for the death penalty to return, O’Connell said.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional back in 1984.
However, there have been several attempts in the intervening years — including one by Democrat Rep. James Miceli which was backed by O’Connell — to bring capital punishment back.
If O’Connell wants to bring capital punishment, she has a supporter in Democrat Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
“Governor Baker supports the death penalty for the offense of killing a police officer and signed legislation last Friday to impose a new mandatory minimum for assault and battery on a police officer causing serious injury,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Will Massachusetts see the death penalty reinstated? WFXT reached out to Rep. Miceli about reintroducing legislation that would reinstate the death penalty in Massachusetts but got no response. It’s an interesting thought though — and one that should terrify Latanowich should he be found guilty.
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