West Virginia

West Virginia

DPIC RESOURCES: New State Pages Now Available

DPIC is pleased to announce the completion of our State Information Pages for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  These state profiles provide historical and current information on the death penalty for each state, including famous cases, past legislative actions, and links to key organizations and state officials.  For frequently updated information, such as execution totals, the size of death row, or the number of exonerations, see our State-by-State Database.  Readers are encouraged to send additional information, pictures, and links to organizations in their state.  You can reach the State Information Pages through the "State by State" button at the top of every page on our website or under the "Resources" tab in our main menu.

Jurisdictions with no recent executions

Although the United States is considered a death penalty country, executions are rare or non-existent in most of the nation: the majority of states--30 out of 50--have either abolished the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in at least 10 years. An additional 5 states have not had an execution in at least 5 years, for a total of 35 states with no executions in that time. Only 6 states carried out an execution in 2015, and only 3 states (TX, MO, and GA) accounted for 86% of the executions.

Two New Federal Death Sentences in Non-Death Penalty State

On May 29, 2007, a jury in Charleston, West Virginia, recommended death sentences for George Lecco and Valerie Friend for the murder of Carla Collins in order to protect their drug ring.  Prosecutors maintained that Lecco arranged to have Collins killed and that Friend did the shooting in 2005.  Formal sentencing was scheduled for August 23.  The judge is required to follow the jury's recommendation.  These are the first federal death sentences in West Virginia since the federal law was reinstated in 1988.  (Charleston Daily Mail, May 29, 2007).  West Virginia is the sixth state without its own death penalty to have a federal death sentence handed down.  All such sentences have come since 2000.  Valerie Friend will be the second woman on federal death row. 

States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates

States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates NEW YORK TIMES

September 22, 2000

States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates

By RAYMOND BONNER and FORD FESSENDEN

The dozen states that have chosen not to enact the death penalty since the Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that it was constitutionally permissible have not had higher homicide rates than states with the death penalty, government statistics and a new survey by The New York Times show.