Juror of Alabama death row inmate speaks on new death penalty bill
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - About two dozen people came before Alabama lawmakers to share their thoughts on a new death penalty bill.
Right now, a person can be put to death without a unanimous jury vote. HB 14 would require the entire jury to be in support of imposing the death penalty.
This bill would also open up the opportunity to reevaluate inmates who are currently on death row because of a judge and not a jury, per Rep. Chris England.
“If we’re going to be a state that puts people to death, it should be the absolute hardest thing that we do,” England said.
About 25 years ago, Mae Puckett sat on a jury for the capital murder trial of Robin “Rocky” Myers. He was sentenced to death for the fatal stabbing of a Decatur woman in 1991.
“I never for a minute thought he was guilty, but I voted guilty, and there’s reasons for that,” Puckett said to lawmakers.
She said she wanted to avoid a retrial that could have put Myers’ on death row.
“Believe me, it’s not easy to sit there and listen to a 8- to 10-year-old boy cry and beg us not to kill their daddy, especially when you know he’s not guilty,” Puckett said.
She said she hoped the jury’s recommendation of life in prison would keep him alive.
The judge overrode the jury’s recommendation, placing Myers on death row anyway.
“This is just a horror I’ve had to live with, and I know some of the other jury members have had to live with it too,” Puckett said.
The Equal Justice Initiative reports that 80% of people on death row in Alabama did not receive a unanimous jury verdict.
With less than five legislative days left, there is not enough time for the House bill bill to pass this session.
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