WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— It’s one of the most controversial topics of our time, the death penalty.
On Thursday, Governor Shapiro announced a moratorium on the death penalty while he’s in office.
A long-time battle in the Keystone State continues revolving around the lives of Pennsylvania’s most dangerous inmates.
“People deserve to be in prison for a reason and I don’t think they should be escaped by the death penalty,” said Devin Higgins, a student at Wilkes University.
Governor Josh Shapiro announced that during his time in office, just like Governor Tom Wolfe before him, we will not sign execution warrants.
“I don’t really think it comes as a surprise, I mean he’s a Democrat and I mean that’s what people vote for so if people are unhappy with that I guess they should take that into consideration,” added Andres Picado, another student of Wilkes University.
“I mean there’s a lot of issues with that, especially cause it’s going to be quite costly to kind of keep them having their sentence sat out the whole time especially when that comes from taxpayer dollars,” explained Thomas Duffy, student at Wilkes University.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, there are 101 inmates on death row.
“I feel as if it’s good taking away the death penalty. I think for the heinous crimes out there I feel most people deserve to probably take the time they deserve in prison,” Higgins told Eyewitness News.
Although students from Wilkes University do have differing opinions on the death penalty, they all feel the same on how scary that two out of these 101 inmates on death row are from our area. The man behind the largest mass murder in Pennsylvania history is one of them.
George Banks murdered 13 people in Luzerne County over four decades ago and has been on death row since 1985.
“It’s been what, 40 years since he’s done that? And he still, in my opinion, hasn’t paid the price for what he did,” Duffy said.
And Eric Frein who remains on the list since 2017 after his attack on Pennsylvania State Police in 2014.
Many people believe that time spent in prison may be a harsher punishment than the death
Shapiro also asked Pennsylvania lawmakers to abolish the death penalty within the state as a whole.