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February 10, 2009 10:29 AM

Proposal to abolish the death penalty draws almost no opposition

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A proposal to eliminate executions for aggravated murder convictions in Washington state drew no opposition today - except from Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn.

When Seattle attorney Jeff Ellis, president of the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, testified in support of the bill proposed by Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, he was cut off by Roach. She explained to other lawmakers, "I feel like we are not getting that open debate."

In addition to Ellis, a representative with Amnesty International also testified in support of the measure. Murray said bills to abolish the death penalty are introduced almost every legislative session, but never pass. He doesn't believe this year will be any different.

No inmate has been executed in Washington state since 2001. Cal Coburn Brown is slated to be executed on March 13 for the 1991 slaying of Holly Washa, 22, near SeaTac Airport. The Burien woman was raped, robbed, tortured and slashed to death, and her body was left in the trunk of her car. Brown was on parole from Oregon at the time of the slaying.

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