Kasich, Fitzgerald Oppose Effort To Repeal Death Penalty


There is rare issue of agreement in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign:  Both Republican incumbent John Kasich and his likely Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald oppose legislative efforts to eliminate the death penalty in Ohio.

At the statehouse Tuesday, representatives of the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religions joined two Ohio Democratic lawmakers who are attempting to end the death penalty in the state.

The group points to a shortage of the drug used during executions, along with the costs associated with keeping prisoners on death row.

"The death penalty is expensive so if we have fiscal conservatives among us, this is a bill for them," said Democratic Representative Nickie Antonio of Cleveland.  "We have people who believe in the sanctity of life and this is a bill that they should support, even the most conservative among us.  And Ohio is struggling with even how to execute someone.  This is the right time to address this issue on so many levels."

Church leaders in attendance said the morality of the death penalty should be debated.

"In the United States we set ourselves up as being a moral and just society, and then we kill people in the name of the state," said the Rev. Dr. Lee Anne Reat of St John's Episcopal Church in Columbus.  "It's just wrong."

This bill is likely headed nowhere soon at the statehouse.

Even if a majority of the pro-death penalty Republican lawmakers changed their view, Governor John Kasich's spokesman told 10TV he would not support it.

The likely Democratic nominee for governor, Ed FitzGerald, also would not endorse it.

"Through his experience in law enforcement, Ed has come to know that there are certain people whose crimes are so heinous that they forfeit their right to live," said Matt McGrath, Ohio Democratic Party spokesman.  "Therefore society ought to reserve the right to carry out the death penalty."

Kasich's spokesman Rob Nichols says the governor remains a supporter of the death penalty.  As a legislator he voted against a bill that would have replaced it with life imprisonment.