Gilbert working to keep VA number one

Brent Finnegan -- December 18th, 2006

To the delight of fans of capital punishment, VA House Rep Todd Gilbert (whose 15th district includes part of Rockingham) is working to make the death penalty available to more people. Currently the Commonwealth ranks number one in executions per capita with states that have populations of more than one million people (second only to Texas in total number of executions per state).

As reported in Saturday’s DNR, Gilbert’s bill, 782 (co-sponsored by our own Mark Obenshain, designed to eliminate the “triggerman loophole”) passed the House back in February by a whopping 83 – 16, still awaiting a Senate vote. Also awaiting a Senate vote is Gilbert’s HB 1311, a bill he introduced because of the murder of gang member Brenda Paz in Shenandoah County back in 2003. The thing I find interesting is that many of the politicians and prosecutors using Paz as a poster child for this bill are the same anti-immigrant folks who would have loved to deport Paz and her family and friends back to Honduras if she didn’t have something to offer the prosecution in that particular MS13 case.

The DNR article follows on the heels of this story of botched execution in Jeb’s Sunshine State last week.

Related hburg news post: anti-death penalty tour stops in H’burg


4 Responses to “Gilbert working to keep VA number one”

  1. writergirl says:

    The comedian Ron White makes a joke about Texas putting in an express way for the death penalty; it seems like Virginia already has one. You are totally right about Brenda Paz; it’s all about what works for you when you need it. I’ve done a lot of research on execution and I am amazed at how often executions get botched. Not to mention the number of people executed who may have been innocent of their crimes. If it actually worked as a deterrent I might feel differently, but it doesn’t.

  2. finnegan says:

    I was able to meet Soujaa Graham when he came to Harrisonburg a few months ago. Contrary to his Black Panther persona in the 1970s, he seemed to me to be a compassionate and soft-spoken person. So scary to think he was on his way to death row at one point.

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