Mass. death penalty bill named in memory of slain officers


BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) — There’s a renewed push in Massachusetts to bring capital punishment back to the Bay State.

A newly proposed legislation would make anyone who is convicted of killing a law enforcement officer eligible for the death penalty.

Under the”Chesna-Gannon” bill – named after Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon and Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna – the death penalty would not be made mandatory but would be included as an option during sentencing.

Both Chesna and Gannon were killed in the line of duty last year.

Gannon was assisting other police officers serving a warrant at a Barnstable home in April 2018 when he was fatally shot. A few months later, Chesna was in pursuit of a suspect when he was knocked down and shot several times with his own gun.

Chesna’s mother Maryann testified in support of the bill.

“We’re under a total cloud of grief every day,” she said through tears during her testimony. “We don’t know where to go, we don’t know what to do. We don’t know where to look because we are still looking for Michael.”

The bill has also received support from Taunton Rep. Shaunna O’Connell.

“We need to stand with law enforcement and send a strong message that we do not tolerate the murder of any of our law enforcement officers,” O’Connell said.

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker also backs the idea, but not everyone is completely on board. The ACLU is expected to fight the bill if it moves forward.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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