Opinions on Death Penalty drastically change

By: Gina Esposito Email
By: Gina Esposito Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. There's a major swing in the public opinion this year about the death penalty. It went from an all time high to a record low in just a matter of months.

In April, the death penalty had an 86% approval rating nationwide according to a Gallup study. In that study, 22% said it's "always appropriate and 64% said it's "sometimes appropriate."

The April survey was done right after the Boston Marathon Bombings. This is a reason why Jesse Youngs thinks it may have had an impact. However, even then he didn't support the death penalty. Youngs said, "When something drastic happens like that, its more of a realization so people react on it a little bit more."

The same study was done again in October and it had big shift in public opinion. The approval rating of the death penalty is now only 60% percent, the lowest in nearly 40 years.

Teresa Anson said, "Maybe as time eases on between a severe incident like Boston, and it's now several months later, maybe the impact of that has lessened and we are just feeling more tolerant as a society."

Anson has always been a supporter of the death penalty. She said, "I have a pretty steadfast thought about how I feel about criminals and terrorists acts."

Anson is coming up with her own ideas about why support has suddenly disappeared. She said, "If you're not staying current with those events everyday in your life, sometimes your ferocity about your decisions weaken."

She also said, "When we recently had a case that the DA approved, that individual was innocent and they've been let go, maybe that's changed people's thinking."

Even though Youngs follows current events, he said his opinion has stayed strong. He said, "I am against the death penalty... and it did not change my mind."

In Colorado, there are currently three men on death row. Recently, Governor John Hickenlooper delayed the execution of Nathan Dunlap. The last execution in our state was Gary Lee Davis in 1997. Lee was the first inmate here to die by lethal injection.

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