Kaine Vetoes Bills That Would Have Ended 'Triggerman' Rule in Capital Murder Cases

Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), left, and Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) huddle with legislators and clerks in the House, which rejected a moratorium on some fees that localities charge builders.
Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), left, and Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) huddle with legislators and clerks in the House, which rejected a moratorium on some fees that localities charge builders. (By Bob Brown -- Richmond Times-dispatch Via Associated Press)

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By Richmond Digest
Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine vetoed two identical bills yesterday that would have made accomplices eligible for the death penalty.

The legislation would have eliminated the "triggerman" rule, which says that only a person who pulls the trigger in a capital murder case is eligible for the death penalty.

The bills grew out of the 2002 Washington area sniper case, in which two people fatally shot 10 victims.

Because it was initially unclear who pulled the trigger, prosecutors said they were hampered in efforts to have the mastermind, John Allen Muhammad, executed.

Kaine (D), who vetoed similar legislation last year, said in a statement that Virginia is second in the nation in the number of executions carried out since 1976.

"While the nature of the offense targeted by this legislation is very serious, I do not believe that further expansion of the death penalty is necessary to protect human life," Kaine said.

-- Tim Craig

Senate Loses Bid to Override Vetoes of Gun Measures

The Senate failed yesterday to override Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's vetoes of two bills that would have loosened restrictions on where someone can carry or place a firearm.

A two-thirds majority, or 27 votes in the 40-member Senate, is needed to override a veto.

On Tuesday, Kaine (D) vetoed a bill that would have allowed someone to bring a concealed weapon into a restaurant that serves alcohol. The Senate fell five votes short in trying to override the veto.


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