A state lawmaker says he plans to introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty in Iowa following the recent discoveries of the bodies of two missing girls.
State Sen. Kent Sorenson said he is looking to unveil the legislation in the session that starts in January.
The Milo Republican said the deaths of 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook, have brought the death penalty issue to the forefront. Authorities say the girls’ bodies were found Wednesday in a wooded wildlife area about 25 miles from their hometown of Evansdale. They had been missing since July.
Someone who kidnaps or rapes “at that point has nothing else to lose,” the lawmaker said. “They’re going to face life in prison so they have no reason at that point to let (the victim) live.”
Gov. Terry Branstad said he supports the death penalty under certain circumstances, but it’s unlikely he’ll push for its reinstatement in Iowa.
“My position has been consistently, for the last 20 or 30 years, that if an individual is guilty of a crime such as first-degree rape or kidnapping and then murders the victim, so two Class A felonies … that is the limited instance when I think the death penalty could be appropriate,” he said during a Statehouse news conference Monday. “I also recognize the political realities, and under the present makeup of the General Assembly, that’s not likely to happen,” he said.
Iowa repealed the death penalty in 1965.
What do you think about the idea of reinstating the death penalty in Iowa, in light of the Evansdale case?