A bill that would abolish the Death Penalty easily passed the Wyoming House Friday. Supporters say it's time to end government-sanctioned killing and they argue that it's a waste of taxpayer money.
But Gillette Republican Bill Pownall said it's an important tool for prosecutors. Pownall, who is a former Sheriff, said that it keeps people safe.
"Wyoming today has a very low crime rate. Ask yourself why? Is it the low population? Or is it because of the laws we have on the books? It could be both but I believe the death penalty is a deterrent."
Sundance Republican Tyler Lindholm countered that prosecutors have used it to get people to confess to crimes they didn't do. He said it's time to move on.
"We're at like 70 years and we've used it twice. $750,000 a year is the cost and for every individual that is on death row and we have zero…we have zero…the 30 percent higher per inmate to house them," Lindholm said.
Instead of death row, those who are convicted for first-degree murder would get life without parole. The bill moves to the Senate for further debate.