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Measure Seeks To Make Decapitation Punishable By Death

Lethal injection room

A state Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill to slightly expand the potential for prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

That measure is specific to murders by decapitation.

Under current law, prosecutors can seek the death penalty for murder if one of 16 of what are called “aggravating circumstances” are met. Those include if the convicted murder was hired to kill the victim, if the victim was a law enforcement officer and if the victim was tortured, mutilated or dismembered.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, says recent killings in Oklahoma and Florida prompted him to investigate whether murder by decapitation is punishable by the death penalty.

And he says, in Indiana, it’s not.

“It doesn’t happen often but when it does I think it deserves either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty,” Steele says.

Glen Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, opposes the bill. He says a crime like decapitation is despicable and makes people want retribution.

“While that is understandable and one’s immediate response, perhaps, we ask that one does not seek an eye for an eye when rendering judgment and punishment,” Tebbe says.

The committee unanimously approved the bill. It now heads to the Senate floor.

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