Murder Victim Family Member Press Page

For 5/17/18 Press Conference in Concord NH

Why are NH murder victim family members’ voices being marginalized
in the death penalty discussion?

Gov. Sununu claims to be supporting victim families in his opposition to death penalty repeal. Yet he has steadfastly declined to meet with any of the murder victim family members in New Hampshire who have requested a sit-down with him.

Family members are often reflexively expected to want the death penalty for the perpetrators of the murders of their loved ones. The assumption is that executing the killer will bring them “closure.” Recent studies, however, show that executions increase negative feelings and only bring closure to 2.5% of  victim family members(1).  In fact, their pain can be greatly exacerbated by the years and years of appeals that come with the death penalty system,  which takes an average of 14 years before an execution, while it only executes about 15% of those put on death row. Many family members are also already against the death penalty on moral grounds, and feel that another killing will do nothing to assuage their loss or bring back their loved ones.

While millions of dollars are being spent in New Hampshire on a single death penalty case,  little to no funding is available to meet the true needs of murder victim family members, such as:

  • Immediate and ongoing social support
  • Improved legal assistance and access to information about their case
  • Grief and PTSD counseling
  • Medical and health services
  • Restitution of lost wages
  • Participation in restorative justice initiatives
  • Scholarships for the education of victims’ children

Money could also be allocated to the currently underfunded cold case unit in New Hampshire,  which has yet to solve over 120 homicides.

Murder Victim Family Members in NH

Downloadable Statements and Photos:

Carol Stamatakis (PDF)Photo
Julia Rodriguez (PDF)Photo
Margaret Hawthorn (PDF) – Photo2016 Senate Judiciary (Video)
Laura Bonk (PDF) – Photo
Arnie Alpert (PDF) – Photo
Bess Klassen-Landis (PDF)Photo
Andrea LeBlancPhoto
Anne Lyczak (PDF)
Blake Allison (PDF)Photo
Rep. Renny Cushing, NH House Floor 4-26-18 (Audio)
Sen. Ruth Ward, NH Senate Floor 3-15-18 (Video)

Press Conference Audio and Video 5.17.18
      Audio (mp3) - NHCADP
Video of Facebook Livecast
Video (YouTube)

Related Materials

NH Death Penalty Fact Sheet 2018
Recent History of the Death Penalty in NH
NH Murder Victim Families Fact Sheet (PDF)
Family Members of Murdered Law Enforcement (PDF)
Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind (PDF)

1. See also Does the Death Penalty bring Closure? (CNN, 2015) and