death penalty

Kentucky judge rules death penalty unconstitutional for those under 21

Aug 10, 2017
University of Washington

A Kentucky judge has issued a pretrial order in a Lexington murder case that could have an impact on the minimum age for the death penalty across the country.

The U.S. Supreme Court established 18 as the minimum age in 2005, but since then there has been mounting scientific evidence that the brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s.

Citing that research, Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone ruled the state cannot seek the death penalty against Travis Bredhold, who was 18 years and five-months-old when he allegedly robbed and killed a gas station attendant in 2013.

Lawmakers Seeking to Abolish Death Penalty Cite Cost, Morality, Mistakes

Feb 8, 2017
Public News Service

Two chambers. Two lawmakers from different parties. Similar bills. Republican Representative Jason Nemes and Democrat Senator Gerald Neal are both filing legislation Tuesday in the Kentucky General Assembly to abolish the death penalty.

Saying he wants to "stand for life," Nemes, a conservative lawmaker from Louisville, says his bill is "about the soul of Kentucky" and for him, "a matter of faith."

"If I believe that Jesus wouldn't do it, I don't think my government ought to do it either and I understand there are differences," he said.

Shifting Opinions on Death Penalty in KY

Nov 7, 2016
Public News Service

Over the past 10 years, eight states have abolished or overturned their death penalties, while governors in four other states have issued moratoriums.

So, is the tide turning in Kentucky, one of 30 states that still allows capital punishment?

It has for Amy Carrino, who says she was pro-death penalty for a long time. A criminal justice professor at Gateway Community and Technical College, Carrino says too many mistakes are made.

Northern Kentucky Group Opposes Death Penalty

Oct 19, 2015
Public News Service

Self-described political and social conservatives in northern Kentucky are forming an organization opposed to the death penalty. Andrew Vandiver, who lives in Walton, is heading the effort. Vandiver says he approaches the death penalty from the pro-life view, that all human life is sacred.

"In the United States we have the option of life in prison without parole and given that we have that option I can't find a good basis for taking a human life," says Vandiver.

Death Penalty Opponents See Hope in Supreme Court Decision

Jul 13, 2015
Greg Stotelmyer, Public News Service

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an Oklahoma case that a controversial drug could be used in executions.

Ironically, death penalty abolitionists in Kentucky see a silver lining in the 5-4 decision by focusing on what dissenting justices had to say.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, "..rather than try to patch up the death penalty's legal wounds one at a time, I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution."

Webb Files Bill to Reform Kentucky's Death Penalty

Feb 20, 2015
Greg Stotelmyer

On the same day Pennsylvania's governor placed a moratorium on the death penalty in the Keystone state, a Kentucky lawmaker filed a bill to make what she says would be moderate reforms to Kentucky's laws.

State Sen. Robin Webb maintains there are so many problems with Kentucky's death penalty that Gov. Steve Beshear should do what Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf did last Friday – suspend the death penalty.

Historic Lows for Executions Nationwide, Zero Last Six Years in Kentucky

Jan 5, 2015
Greg Stotelmyer, Public News Service

The close of 2014 marks six years without an execution in the Bluegrass State. That's consistent with national trends, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center. The last execution in Kentucky was in 2008.

Nationwide, the 35 executions this year are the fewest since 1994. Gretchen Engel, who heads the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, says high-profile cases of botched executions prompt people to question the humanity of the punishment.

Death Penalty Discussed On KET

Apr 1, 2014
News One

There’s growing support in Kentucky to abolish the death penalty but it won’t happen during the current session of the state legislature.

That’s according to former Kentucky Public Advocate Ernie Lewis. He discussed the issue Monday on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” along with defenders of capital punishment.

Lewis opposes the death penalty on religious and legal grounds. He argues it is unfairly imposed on minorities and the poor.

Ohio Death Penalty Under Review

Feb 3, 2014
The Verge

The controversial execution of a convicted killer in January at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville is under review by the State Department of Corrections and Ohio’s governor says his support for the death penalty has not wavered. 

Republican John Kasich answered questions about the execution during a legislative forum sponsored by the Ohio Associated Press.

It took Dennis McGuire about 25 minutes to die when he received a lethal injection using a new combination of drugs.


Kentucky’s public advocate says the state could substantially reduce its criminal justice costs by limiting the type of cases in which local prosecutors can seek the death penalty. Ed Monahan says extraordinary waste is incurred in the prosecution of capital cases that rarely end in a death sentence…

Monahan says by restricting the death penalty to cases that truly warrant it, resources would be better utilized.