HOT TOPIC: Death Penalty Bill Proposed
The death penalty in Iowa was abolished nearly 50 years ago, but an Iowa Senator says it’s time to bring it back.
Friday, a group of parents of murdered children came together to push for the bill and several others to deter sex offenders.
“What`s going on with our kids, they`re being taken and murdered, and if we don`t protect our own children, and what we`re doing it`s not working,” says Elizabeth Collins Father Drew Collins.
Collins and his wife Heather say things might have turned out differently if Iowa had the death penalty. They say their daughter, Elizabeth and her cousin Lyric might still be alive.
The girls disappeared last July and were found dead five months later.
Senator Kent Sorenson will introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty next week.
“This is something we need to enact to protect the children of the state,” says Senator Sorenson.
The death penalty would come into play in cases where two Class A felonies are committed, such as a kidnapping and a murder.
“If you kidnap in Iowa your sentence is life, if you kill in Iowa your sentence is still life, there is no incentive to keep the child alive. Will this stop totally abductions, no, but it might stop someone from taking that final step and murdering a child,” says Johnny Gosch’s Mother Noreen Gosch.
Gosch’s son Johnny was kidnapped 30-years ago, and he still remains missing to this day.
“We are tired of seeing our kids go out the door to school and wondering if they`ll ever come back,” says Gosch.
However, the bill hasn’t seen much support and although Governor Terry Branstad has said he supports capital punishment in limited circumstances, his spokesperson says it’s unlikely the bill will reach the Governor’s desk.
“The Governor believes if there are two Class A felony`s committed that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment, the Governor does realize that the death penalty doesn`t have a high likelihood of advancing this year,” says Governor Brandstad’s Communications Director Tim Albrecht.
Senator Sorenson knows this is an uphill battle.
He’s asking the Judiciary Committee to hold a public hearing to allow citizens to give their two cents.
“I want to find common ground, this should not be a Republican and Democratic issue,” says Senator Sorenson.
Senator Sorenson also plans to introduce other bills, all aimed to deter sexual offenders.
They include a chemical castration bill, eliminating earned time for serious sex offenses, and requiring sex offenders to wear electronic monitoring devices during conditional release.
Senator Sorenson also plans to introduce a bill that would notify hunters to search their hunting grounds when a child goes missing immediately.