General Information

Death Penalty: No
Date of Reinstatement (following Furman v. Georgia): October 1, 1973
Date of Abolition: April 25, 2012
Location of Death Row/Executions: Northern Correctional Institution, Somers

Capital: Hartford
Population: 3,574,097
Governor: Ned Lamont
Legislative Information: Senate
House of representatives


DPIC's State Database for information on executions, death row population and other statistics in Connecticut

History of the Death Penalty

Bear Mountain. Public domain photo.

History of the Death Penalty

In colonial Connecticut, capital crimes included idolatry, witchcraft, and blasphemy.

Famous Cases

The first person executed for witchcraft in what is now the United States was Achsah Young, who was executed in Hartford in 1647.

In 1786, Hannah Occuish, a 12-year-old Native American girl, was hanged in New London for the murder of a young white girl. She may have been the youngest person ever executed in the United States.

The last person executed in Connecticut who had exhausted all appeals was Frank Wojulewicz, who was executed in 1959 for murdering a police officer and bystander while committing a robbery. The two men executed since then both dropped appeals and "volunteered" for execution.

Notable Commutations/clemencies

Connecticut is one of five states that gives clemency authority to a board, rather than the governor. No death row prisoner was granted clemency during the period in which the death penalty had been reinstated.

Milestones in Abolition/Reinstatement

In 2009, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill to abolish the death penalty, but the bill was vetoed by Governor M. Jodi Rell.

In 2012, Connecticut abolished the death penalty for future crimes. Eleven men remained on death row until 2015, when the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled by a vote of 4-3 in State v. Santiago that the death penalty violated the state constitution. The Court indicated at that time that the remaining death row prisoners were entitled to be resentenced to life without parole. However, after one of the justices in the Santiago majority left the Court, prosecutors sought and were granted permission to re-open the issue. On May 26, 2016, in State v. Peeler, the Court reaffirmed its holding in Santiago by a vote of 5-2.

The remaining death-row prisoners were resentenced one at a time, as their cases were decided in the lower courts.  On December 6, 2018, Richard Roszkowski became the last of the eleven formerly death-row prisoners to be formally resentenced to life without possibility of release. 

Other interesting facts

Connecticut has only carried out one execution since the reinstatement of the death penalty. Michael Ross was executed by lethal injection in 2005 after giving up his appeals.


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