Child and wife killer Scott Peterson is among many death row inmates spared death after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Wednesday to halt death penalties in California.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the order grants a reprieve to more than 700 people on death row in California. Newtown claimed the death row penalty was discriminatory toward people with mental issues and people of color, and it hasn’t had made California any safer.
“Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure,” Newsom says in prepared remarks, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.”
Due to a flurry of legal challenges, California hasn’t executed an inmate since 2006.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” Newsom added.
Many of the 737 inmates currently on death row at San Quentin prison are child killers, murderers, rapists and serial killers. Peterson, one of the most infamous killers on death row, killed his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, in 2002. He then dumped Laci’s body in the San Francisco Bay.
“Tool Box Killer” Lawrence Bittaker is also housed at San Quentin’s death row. Bittaker raped five teen girls during the 1970s, then tortured them with pliers, ice picks, and a sledgehammer.
Another infamous criminal on San Quentin’s death row child rapist and killer, Richard Allen Davis. Davis kidnapped Polly Ann Klaas from her bedroom during a sleepover in 1993, then brutally raped and murdered the 12-year-old. After her death, Polly’s father, Marc Klaas, became a strong child advocate and created the KlaasKids Foundation in 1994.
Klaas is a staunch supporter of the death penalty, along with President Donald Trump, who tweeted he was not “thrilled” with the governor’s decision.
Although will the governor’s order will immediately shut down San Quentin’s execution chamber and eliminate the state’s lethal injection protocol, none of the death row inmates will be released from prison. Their current sentences and convictions are not altered by the order.
Meanwhile, other states previously abolished the death penalty in recent years, including, in part, Delaware, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Illinois.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Scott Peterson/ California Department of Corrections]