House committee passes bill to abolish death penalty in Washington

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A House committee has passed a bill to abolish the death penalty in Washington, and the measure now awaits a potential vote by the full House.

The bill passed on a 7-6 party line vote out of the Judiciary Committee Thursday. The Senate passed the bill on a 26-22 bipartisan vote last week.

The measure would remove capital punishment as a sentencing option for aggravated murder and mandate instead a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. There has been a moratorium on the death penalty since 2014, put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee.

There have been 78 inmates, all men, put to death in Washington state since 1904. The most recent execution in the state came in 2010, when Cal Coburn Brown died by lethal injection for the 1991 murder of a Seattle-area woman.

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