Group against capital punishment protests firing squad bill

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SALT LAKE CITY – A group of protesters from Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon.  They're against a bill drafted by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, who wants to bring the firing squad back to the state. Ray is also hoping human traffickers will face the death penalty.

Ralph Dellapiana, Director of Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said there is no humane way to kill death row convicts.

"Execution by firing squads sends a very graphic message that goes completely against the sanctity of life that I think most Utahns have a great respect for," Dellapiana said.

The firing squad was outlawed in Utah in 2004, but the Republican lawmaker is hoping to bring it back.

“You know, we’re not looking at some of the local molestation cases that we deal with, we’re talking trafficking rings,” Ray said. “We’re looking at guys who are doing actual kidnapping and taking children and moving them around for sex purposes.”

Ray is currently drafting a new bill to impose the death penalty on sex traffickers. He said it was inspired, in part, by Attorney General Sean Reyes’ recent undercover operation to bust a sex trafficking ring in South America.

Captured in a documentary that is airing at Sundance, Reyes flew to Columbia and helped rescue more than 120 girls from the ring.

Members of the group Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty say they are against all forms of capital punishment and believe convicts should serve out a life sentence.

“Even the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Ray, admits the firing squad will bring a circus atmosphere to executions in Utah,” Dellapiana said.

Ray said he believes the death penalty is a just punishment for these types of criminals. He said he's not hoping to bring back the firing squad because he believes lethal injection is inhumane, rather that the firing squad is a faster and more effective method of execution.

“I support the death penalty,” he said. “I believe there are certain consequence for actions and that’s one of them.”


  • BOB

    No, Mr. Dellapiana, the majority of Utahns believe the death penalty is very appropriate in certain specific cases including the cold blooded murder of little children to shut them up after they have been molested. The death penalty is safe and effective 100% of the time when administered with a 308 caliber long gun.

  • David Whittington

    Mr. Dellapiana should take his entire protest group to Saudi Arabia – a country allied with the US in the Middle East and a country that regularly administers public beheadings as the death penalty. Closed door firing squads seem tame as opposed to public beheadings.

  • bob

    Done correctly it’s a lot less “cruel” than incarceration, and done often it wouldn’t be “unusual.” It’s also 100% effective as a deterrent. No executed murderer in human history has EVER re-offended.

    Perhaps some of these bleeding hearts should volunteer to take a few of the poor dears home with them.

  • bob

    There is no Constitutional guarantee that an execution can’t be a “circus.” They should be televised on pay-per-view to offset the cost, then put on YouTube 90 days later.

  • boom

    bob this is one of the times i definitely agree with you on the subject, save taxpayers money, a bullet is a heck of a lot cheaper than the effort it takes to get expensive medicines to do a botched lethal injection. punishment fits the crime, you ruin or take a life you should die. simple as that. and as far as i can tell most people in this state are for the execution of murderers and human traffickers. rapists and child predators should be put on that list as well in my opinion.

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