Senate passes death penalty proposal for child molesters with repeat offenses - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Senate passes death penalty proposal for child molesters with repeat offenses

(Columbia) March 28, 2006 - A statute that could give some sex offenders the death penalty passed the full state Senate Tuesday. If it becomes law, anyone convicted twice of raping a child under 11 could get a death sentence.

The sex crimes against one Lexington woman's children are so bad, WIS is shielding her identity. The victim's mother tells us, "When everybody was in bed at night, he would go into his room and have his way with my children."

She says a family friend molested her five-year-old daughter and raped her nine-year-old son, "They've had low self-esteem, embarrassment, trouble in relationships, everything in their lives. It's really destroyed them."

Inside the State House, lawmakers wanted to know if a statute sentencing some sex offenders to death would survive constitutional questions like cruel and unusual punishment.

State attorney general Henry McMaster testified, "If a grown man rapes a child under 11, then again after conviction, can he be executed? I think the answer is yes because the country believes this is the proper punishment for such a heinous crime."

USC law professor Ken Gains says the US Supreme Court might strike it down, "I think it does present some constitutional problems. Mainly it's disproportionate and excessive."

Solicitor Donnie Myers, known for death penalty convictions, said it could be a fight, "You'll have all the anti-death penalty crowd on one side and all the prosecution on the other side and they're going to clash in the middle, and fighting over the constitutionality of a case where there's no death and the death penalty is being imposed."

But the victim's mother that News 10 spoke with says, "People who say that have not lived their children's lives and not watched their children be destroyed by a sex offender."

So she'll support the proposal as it moves to the House.

People who testified Tuesday said one other state, Louisiana, has a similar statute. It became law in 1995. They say since then, one person was convicted. He's on death row.

Reported by Jennifer Miskewicz

Posted 7:25pm by Chantelle Janelle

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