Convicted killers of legislation enforcement officers can be eligible for the dying penalty in Massachusetts beneath a proposed legislation backed by the household of a Weymouth police sergeant killed on obligation final 12 months.
The invoice, filed by Republican state reps. Shaunna O’Connell and David DeCoste, would give prosecutors the choice to hunt capital punishment in instances involving a defendant no less than 18 years outdated who murdered an officer “either knowing that the victim was a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties or in retaliation for performance of his or her duties, or both.”
Law enforcement officers would come with “a correction officer or a person exercising the authority of a police officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff,” in accordance with the invoice.
O’Connell, testifying earlier than the Joint Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday, mentioned three officers have been killed whereas doing their jobs during the last three years.
Auburn police officer Ronald Tarentino, Jr., 42, was allegedly shot and killed by Jorge Zambrano — who was subsequently killed by police — in May 2016.
Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon, 32, was killed in April 2018. Thomas Latanowich has been charged with first-degree homicide within the case.
Weymouth police Sgt. Michael Chesna was killed in July 2018. His alleged killer Emanuel Lopes faces two homicide fees after authorities allege he additionally killed Vera Adams, 77, in a standoff with police.
“The people who committed these crimes, there’s no question of their guilt and we need to really stand with law enforcement and send a strong message that we do not tolerate murder of any of our law enforcement officers,” mentioned O’Connell, of Taunton.
The invoice, if signed into legislation, would partially restore the dying penalty in Massachusetts, the place the follow was outlawed in 1984.
“I don’t believe that the authors of our Constitution ever intended for us to be limited in terms of what we can apply the death penalty to, certainly not to protect law enforcement officers,” DeCoste, of Norwell, mentioned.
Maryann Chesna, mom of fallen Sgt. Michael Chesna, instructed lawmakers Tuesday she is a “complete supporter of the bill.”
“My son was taken from us totally unexpectedly on a beautiful Sunday morning in Weymouth, our hometown for almost 50 years, doing what he loved but dying because of it,” she mentioned.
She was joined by her son’s widow, Cindy Chesna, through the committee listening to.
“The justice system seems to me to be broken,” Maryann Chesna mentioned. “There is no consequence. It’s arrest and release, arrest and release. People are taken in and within hours they’re out. They’re on probation. They’re out on bail. Nobody follows through. Nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody seems to care.”
According to O’Connell, the invoice has the help of over a dozen legislation enforcement associations from throughout the commonwealth. She mentioned the measure would save lives and assist authorities do their job.
“This is long overdue,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson mentioned at a press convention. “We owe it to the Chesna family, we owe it to every victim (and) family of law enforcement officers who supported and allowed their family member to go out into the community with one mission, knowing that they were leaving everyday to put their lives at risk to protect all of us.”