NJ becomes first state in 42 years to ban death penalty

(AP) - Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a law on Monday making New Jersey the first state in four decades to abolish the death penalty.

The bill, approved last week by the state's Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.

The measure spares eight men on the state's death row. On Sunday, Corzine signed orders commuting the sentences of those eight to life in prison without parole.

Among the eight spared is Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who murdered 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. The case inspired Megan's Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

Although New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982 ? six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions - it hasn't executed anyone since 1963.

A special state commission found in January that the death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison, hasn't deterred murder, and risks killing an innocent person.

Related Information:NJset to abolish the death penaltyDeathpenalty likely to be abolished in NJNJSenate passes measure to abolish death penaltyVotecould end death penalty in New JerseySenatecommittee OKs abolishing death penalty

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