Four Iowa families stood together Monday at the statehouse as they asked for lawmakers to re-instate the death penalty. The families have all had a child kidnapped or murdered. Drew Collins, whose 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and 10-year-old niece, Lyric Cook, were kidnapped and killed in July, said the state hasn’t done enough to protect children. Collins said, “For us to sit around and just say, ‘that’s too bad’, and not do anything about it and then it just continues to happen again and again.”
Collins wife, Heather, said what happened to her daughter changed her mind on an appropriate punishment for child killers. She said, “I was not for the death penalty. I never have been…I feel that this needs to be done.”
Senator Kent Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, stood with the families following their meeting with Governor Terry Branstad. He said, “Will this save every life? I can honestly tell you I don’t believe it would save every life. But could it save some lives? I believe it could.”
Sorenson is putting together legislation that would re-instate the death penalty for criminals who commit a felony, like kidnapping, and then kill the victim to cover up the crime. He said he is still working on specifics.
Governor Branstad stated Monday he remains supportive of a limited death penalty for someone who rapes or kidnaps and then kills the child.
However, key Democratic leaders, who control the senate, could block the bill from seeing debate during the next legislative session.