Arkansas House Approves Bill To Let Victim Relatives Witness Executions

Feb 2, 2015

Arkansas House members are supporting a proposal that would let family members of murder victims witness executions in-person.

Lawmakers voted 95-0 Monday to permit adult family members to attend the execution of a person convicted of killing a relative. The proposal keeps an attendance cap of 30 but provides an exception for family members.

Relatives of victims can currently ask to watch via closed-circuit television in a prison office.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Rebecca Petty of Rogers, whose 12-year-old daughter was killed in 1999. She says Oklahoma and Texas have similar laws and that family members should be given a choice in Arkansas.

Other proponents say the change will help provide closure to the families. No one spoke against the bill.

Arkansas' most-recent execution was in 2005.