Lawmakers renew push to reinstate death penalty in Illinois

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ILLINOIS - It's been four years since any Illinois prisoner has had to worry about walking the green mile. Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011. But now some lawmakers want to bring it back, or at least, they want lawmakers to engage in a very serious discussion to consider it. 

State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) is the primary sponsor of House Bill 4059, which calls to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois.

"What we're looking at is taking the worst of the worst and being able to let the victims' families go lobby their elected state's attorneys for maybe another form of punishment," he said today during a press conference at the Decatur Civic Center.

Cabello filed the house bill on February 27, and it immediately went to the House Rules Committee.

Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), one of the bill's co-sponsors, was at today's press conference. He fears the bill will never make it to the house floor.

When WAND's Marianne Manko asked Mitchell today, "What do you thing is your biggest obstacle?"

Mitchell said, "Speaker Madigan letting it out! It is much better to have Speaker Madigan release the bill and let us debate it in a democratic setting than have a tragedy happen and then say, 'okay we should have acted'."

Cabello says -- several recent murder investigations have brought the push for the death penalty bill back into the limelight, like the Fox Lake police officer recently shot to death.

"One that stands out in my mind is the 7 year old boy who was killed in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend" Cabello added. Police arrested 20-year old Rasheed Martin in that murder. Both lawmakers say the bill they want to see pass should be iron clad and aimed at very specific killers.

"This is only for first responders, people that kill first responders, children under the age of 12, mass murderers and/or if there's a terrorist act involved" Cabello said. 

Both want lawmakers to bring the bill up to discuss the types of specifics that could apply, like which type of capital punishment could be used and what types of evidence that led to a conviction would apply.

"Do we need to have video evidence? Do we need to have DNA evidence? All these things we need to look at to start the discussion" said Cabello.

But Mitchell said that conversation cannot even begin until Speaker Madigan releases the bill from committee and takes it to the House floor for discussion.

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