Former executioners speak out against the death penalty

Former executioners speak out against the death penalty

The two men were in Bakersfield Wednesday night to encourage people to vote for Proposition 34.

One of the propositions on the November ballot is Prop. 34 which, if passed, would do away with the death penalty in California.

On Wednesday, the community got a chance to hear from two retired executioners who support Prop. 34.

The Group, 'California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty' hosted two men who used to carry out executions on the east coast. They say the death penalty is too expensive and ineffective.

But, those opposed to Prop. 34 say certain crimes warrant the ultimate punishment.

"Executioner's job was to push the chemical down the line, and you could see the chemical going down the line," said former executioner Jerry Givens.

Jerry Givens led Virginia's execution team 62 times, so you might think he's in favor of the death penalty.

However, he came to Bakersfield Wednesday night for one reason.

"To try to convince these people in California that killing is not the right thing for us to do. I knew I had something to tell to the people about the death penalty because I executed 62 people," said Givens.

A 'yes' vote on Proposition 34 would kill California's death penalty in favor of life in prison sentences.

Ron McAndrew, also a former Executioner, says the death penalty is not only wrong for our state, but also costly. "No matter how long they stay in prison, it is still going to cost less than it is going to cost to execute them because of the legal costs and the special housing costs."

But, not everyone thinks the death penalty should be abolished, including Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green and Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

"Don't you think when a suspect rapes or murders a child that the suspect should get the ultimate penalty?" said Youngblood during a news conference last month.

"The system is definitely broken, and in that sense it has failed. But, it can be fixed and there are people working to fix it. So, instead of totally abolishing it, people should get together and fix it," added Green.

There are currently 22 inmates in Kern County on death row and 725 across the state.

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