Kentucky lawmakers push to abolish death penalty

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Two Kentucky lawmakers want the state to put an end to the death penalty. Representative David Floyd, R-Bardstown and Senator Gerald Neal, D-Louisville have filed bills in the house and senate to replace it with life without parole.

The lawmakers ask, What if the wrong man is convicted? It's what happened to Michael VonAllmen, he wasn't sentenced to death but did spend 11 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

"It clearly demonstrates that the system has the ability to make mistakes," said VonAllmen.

He was exonerated in 2010. Lawmakers argue errors are bound to happen.

"For the sake of justice, are we willing to sacrifice a few innocent to kill the guilty?," asked Floyd.

Both men feel it'll be an uphill battle in both chambers to get their bills approved.

"I hope this is the year we are going to do the right thing," said Neal.

They also argue that pursuing life without parole instead of the death penalty will save taxpayer money and the court system's time. Sen. Neal plans to establish a task force to examine that cost difference.

"We'll have an opportunity to take a good hard look and find that it is unacceptable to finance the death penalty," Neal explained.

He expects that study to last less than 12 months. He says it's about building the best case possible to abolish the death penalty.

Eighteen states have abolished the death penalty.

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