Debate Over Killer's Fate Seeps Into Conn. Races

Death penalty becomes central issue after home invasion conviction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2010 6:17 AM CDT
Connecticut Death Penalty Debate May Sway Elections
This photo provided the Connecticut Department of Correction shows Steven Hayes.   (AP Photo/Connecticut Department of Correction, File)

One of the most horrific crimes in Connecticut's history may weigh on the state's elections. Stephen Hayes is awaiting sentencing for the home invasion murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters next week and Republican candidates for Senate and governor have been making the death penalty a central issue. GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley has attacked his rival's opposition to the death penalty, while Senate candidate Linda McMahon accuses Democratic rival Richard Blumenthal of flip-flopping on the issue.

"There are a set of swing voters who will base their vote not on the recession, but on this emotional issue because of that case," a politics professor tells the Wall Street Journal. "It's never had this level of importance." The latest poll shows that more than 75% of the state's voters support the death penalty for Hayes—some 10% more than support the death penalty in general.
(More Connecticut stories.)

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