NEW VOICES: Mother of Murder Victim Urges Connecticut Legislators to Repeal Death Penalty

Victoria Coward, whose son Tyler (pictured) was killed when he was 18, recently petitioned Connecticut legislators to repeal the death penalty.  Speaking of her son’s killer, Coward said, “In the beginning I was so mad, I did want him dead. Then I had to think about it. You don’t want anyone killing your son. Just get him off the street so he doesn’t do that to anybody else. Killing Jose [her son's murderer] isn’t going to help me... What would killing him [accomplish]? My son is still gone...” (Her son's killer was spared the death penalty at trial.) Coward suggested putting the money spent on prosecuting death penalty cases toward resources that would help murder victims’ survivors. Coward, along with other murder victims’ family members urged legislators to replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.  She had to wait until 1 a.m. to testify before the Judiciary Committee considering the bill.  The repeal bill, however, was put on hold and likely will not be acted on this legislative session.

(P. Bass, "Her Plea Counted Less," New Haven Independent, May 20, 2011).  See Victims and New Voices.