Life without the possibility of parole has replaced lethal injection as the harshest punishment Connecticut's courts can hand down. Gov. Dan Malloy signed a bill to repeal capital punishment, making the state the 17th to do so, and the fifth in the last five years, ABC reports. The new law will not affect the 11 killers already on death row in the state, including two men sentenced to death for murdering the wife and daughters of Dr. William Petit in a home invasion. Petit successfully lobbied lawmakers to delay repeal until both men had been sentenced.
Connecticut has only executed one person since 1960. Malloy, a former prosecutor, said he used to support the death penalty, but his position changed as he observed injustices caused by flaws in the system, Time reports. "In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed," he said, calling repeal a "moment for sober reflection, not celebration." California may become the next state to abolish the death penalty if voters decide to do so in a ballot measure this November.