Kansas Conservatives Speak Out Against Death Penalty

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- To move forward with their beliefs, the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty took to the Statehouse on Tuesday.

They spoke to community members what they believe are the biggest issues with the death penalty in Kansas. One being the amount of money wasted keeping the death penalty in force, when no one has been executed in Kansas since 1965.

"In Kansas, we haven't actually executed anyone in 50 years. So we get all of the benefits of paying for capital cases, and if there were any benefits to actually executing anyone, we're not realizing those anyways," said Representative Bill Sutton, Republican for District 43.

Many anti-death-penalty speakers were at Tuesday's event, including two death row exonerees, who now use their experiences to teach. Ron Keine and Ray Krone were both falsely accused of a crime punishable by the death penalty, and were later found innocent.

"Nobody can truly understand what we went through unless you go through it. You have to be in that cell. You have to see the guards beating people up. You have to see what they're doing there. You have to see the guy being dragged out of his cell to be killed," said Keine.

The group wants to keep others from facing the death penalty after being wrongfully accused. They recently wrote a house bill that would eliminate capital punishment. Specifically, the bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.

The group is hoping to set an example for the rest of the nation.

"We as Kansans lead the nation. We've been leaders in so many issues in the state of Kansas, and I feel that this is another one where we can be leaders. It's very important that we repeal this and be leaders in the nation," said Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty board member Jill Craven.

We could find no death penalty supporters at today's meeting, and with the new house bill currently in committee, the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty is hoping for a hearing within the next month.