SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California’s death penalty debate got personal on Thursday. Family members of murder victims gathered in Sacramento to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to change his mind and once again allow executions in California.
“Gov. Newsom took a knife and stabbed it in heart of all these crime victims standing here today,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
One by one, victims’ family members blasted Newsom’s death penalty moratorium.
“I felt betrayed by Governor Newsom. I felt like he was a thief in the night who stole justice from us,” said Phyllis Loya, the mother of murder victim Larry Lasater Jr.
When he announced the death penalty moratorium in March, Newsom called the death penalty a failure and said, “It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.”
Many prosecutors disagree. On Wednesday, prosecutors in Sacramento announced the will seek the death penalty for Joseph DeAngelo, the suspected East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer.
Ron Harrington, the brother of one of the victims, said, “The Golden State Killer is the worst of the worst of the worst. He is the poster child for the death penalty.”
The parents of Samuel Herr, who was murdered nine years ago, say they’ll do everything they can to convince Newsom to change his mind.
“It’s our job to convince him that that pain is real and for him to rescind that order,” Herr said.
In 2016, California voters approved a ballot measure to speed up executions. California has more than 700 people on death row. The last execution in California happened in 2006.