Virginia governor to sign legislation ending death penalty

Governor Ralph Northam; Virginia
Governor Ralph Northam

The death penalty is to be abolished in Virginia, a state with a long and prolific history of carrying out executions.

Governor Ralph Northam scheduled a tour of the death chamber at the Greensville Correction Centre on Wednesday, and then plans to sign the landmark legislation.

It marks a dramatic shift in a state that has executed more people than any other.

Virginia has put to death nearly 1,400 people since its days as a colony and will become the 23rd state to abolish the death penalty.

In modern times, Virginia is second only to Texas in the number of executions it has carried out, with 113 since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Last month, Virginia’s new Democratic majority won a lengthy battle when both the Senate and House of Delegates approved bills to end capital punishment.

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