COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group of conservative lawmakers and stakeholders took to the podium on Tuesday with a common plea — stop executions in our state.
- Their reasons for wanting the death penalty out of Ohio range from theological, to moral, to financial
- It costs Ohio an estimated $1 million to try a death penalty case
- One of the more impassioned testimonies came from the son of a victim who had to painfully live through the trial of his father's murderer
“The sanctity of life should be protected more than anything else, and when you give the government power over life, you give them the ultimate power,” said Rep. Laura Lanese.
Assistant Majority Whip Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) is a member of a new group of conservatives concerned about the death penalty. She says she changed her mind on the polarizing issue once she saw the room first-hand.
“We were able to walk down death row, we went and saw the injection room, we saw the electric chair. Ten years earlier I had been to Dacau. You talk about eye opening…you see that table and realize deaths are taking place there — it’s quite impressionable,” Lanese said.
One of the most impassioned testimonies of the day came from the son of a victim. Jonathan Mann changed his stance on the death penalty after having to live through the horrors of open trial, sitting in front of the man who murdered his father.
“I wanted Thomas to pay for what he did for my dad. I wanted him to die. I wanted an eye for an eye. But although I desperately wanted a way to honor my dad, I knew that killing this man wouldn’t bring him back or make me whole again,” said Mann.
That realization led to advocacy, which brought him all the way to the Statehouse.
Mann highlighted the hypocrisy of being pro-life, while also being pro-death penalty, and shed light on the estimated one million dollars it costs the state in legal fees to try a habeas case.
“Whether it’s the unnecessary drain of state resources, it goes against your theology, or you believe capital punishment is an ineffective deterrent, there are compelling reasons to see it stopped. You only need one for it to matter,” said Mann.
Whether or not this group will move the needle remains to be seen. Ohio Governor Mike Dewine (R) has cleared the calendar of state executions for now, saying we cannot carry them out with our current method.
However, unlike the lawmakers present Tuesday, he hasn’t outright said the practice should be overturned.
The group says they’ll work to pass legislation to do just that.