Victims' Families Want Curbs On Governor's Ability To Halt Death Penalty

Feb 26, 2014

Family members of murder victims are expressing anguish over Governor Jay Inslee’s decision to halt the state’s death penalty. They testified before lawmakers considering curbs on the governor’s authority to grant reprieves.

The family members told stories of the daughters and sisters taken from them. And they expressed outrage that they should be forced to pay, as taxpayers, for the killers to live.

Ed Oster lost his daughter to Spokane serial killer Robert Yates.

“I would like somebody to explain to me what right does this man have to keep breathing? And I have to pay taxes and feed him. My daughter’s in the ground. She has two children and grandchildren that they’ll never ever see her,"says Oster.

The family members were in Olympia to speak out against Governor Inslee’s death penalty moratorium. Senator Steve O’Ban has introduced legislation that would require the governor to gather input from the state Clemency and Pardons Board before staying a death sentence.

Sandy Mullins from the governor’s office told lawmakers that Inslee did speak to a number of victims’ family members. She added that the Clemency and Pardons Board has no authority over the governor’s ability to grant reprieves – those put punishments temporarily on hold but don’t affect the person’s conviction.

Copyright 2014 NW News.