Families urge Inslee to reconsider death penalty moratorium

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Families of murder victims are urging Governor Inslee to reconsider his moratorium on the death penalty. They traveled to Olympia Wednesday to ask why the governor never consulted with them before making his decision.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to make sure the families' voices are heard.

"I am here Governor Inslee and I've got to say I'm very surprised that you're not here looking at all these victims," said Sherry Shaver, whose daughter Talisha was killed by Dewayne Woods in 1996. "We're here to speak about this. Where are you Gov. Inslee?"

Woods was sentenced to death. But that sentence is on hold with the governor's stunning statement that he would not sign a death warrant as long as he's in office.

"I never talked to the governor about this," said Jessie Ripley. Her mother Jane Hungerford-Trapp was killed in Tacoma by Cecil Davis. "The governor needs to look at each and every situation as if it was his family. As if he was a victim himself."

Had the governor talked to these families, he would have heard a resounding endorsement of the death penalty. Ed Oster's daughter Sunny was murdered in Spokane by serial killer Robert Yates.

"They deserve what the court says they should get," said Oster. " And that's death. Done."

The families are here in support of a bill (SB 6566) by State Sen. Steve O'Ban that would enforce the idea that families of the victims need to be heard before any decision is made on whether to go ahead with an execution. He said, "There can be no justice if the voices of the victims are not heard."

Lewis County prosecutor Jonathan Meyers said," (Inslee) disrespected the victims. They deserve closure. They deserve their voice to be heard and the decision he leveled silenced all of them."

The bill got its first public hearing Wednesday. Even if it were to pass, the sponsor admits it wouldn't negate the governor's decision. However, it would be a mandate for future governor's to listen to families first and then make a decision.