The General Assembly has rejected legislation to expand the death penalty in Virginia.
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-6, with one abstention, on Wednesday to kill legislation allowing the death penalty for accomplices who share the intent to kill.
Under current law, the so-called triggerman rule allows capital punishment only for the person who does the actual killing.
2 weeks ago, the Senate's own version of the Republican-backed bill died in the courts committee on a 7-7 party-line vote, with one Republican abstaining because he accepts court appointments to represent capital murder defendants. State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Moneta, abstained again, and sate Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg, switched sides and voted against the bill. Reeves said later that he changed his vote because of his faith. He declined to elaborate. He serves as a small group Bible study leader and deacon at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg.
The committee's action kills the triggerman revision for the fifth consecutive year.
(source: Associated Press)