Wyoming is one of 31 states that allows capital punishment. But only one person has been sentenced to death in the Cowboy State. That was back in 1992 when Mark Hopkinson was convicted of murdering four people. Wyoming isn’t the only state that hasn’t used the death penalty in years. According to the Pew Research Center, it is among 11 states that allows capital punishment but hasn’t had an execution in at least a decade.
Some Wyoming lawmakers say the million dollar price tag of keeping death row open is just one reason to phase out capital punishment. Now, a bill that would outlaw the death penalty in Wyoming is working its way through the Legislature. House Bill 145, sponsored by Cheyenne Rep. Jared Olsen, has garnered notable support. It was co-sponsored by 12 Republicans and six Democrats. And it passed in the House 36 to 21. Today, it will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Olsen, a Republican, says that he was a strong supporter of capital punishment for most of his life. So what changed?
Update: After unanimously passing out of a House committee on Wednesday, HB 145 died in the Senate on Thursday.