Majority of America supports the death penalty for murder


FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Virginia Department of Corrections shows the execution chamber at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam scheduled a tour Wednesday, March 24, 2021, of the death chamber at the Greensville Correction Center, then planned to sign the landmark legislation. (Virginia Department of Corrections via AP, File)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Research shows that more than half of the country favors the death penalty for people convicted of murder.

Sixty percent of Americans still support the death penalty, according to data from the Pew Research Center. The major concern appears to be the idea of executing potentially innocent people, as alleged in the Julius Jones case.

Jones, 41, was convicted in the shooting death of Paul Howell, a father in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, during a carjacking. Jones maintains he was framed by the actual killer, a high school friend and co-defendant who testified against him and was released from prison after 15 years.

His execution was scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, but Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted his sentence to life in prison hours earlier.

Capital punishment has been around since the nation’s founding in 1776. In 27 states the death penalty is legal, while three states are under a governor-imposed moratorium.

1,539 men and women have been executed in the United States since the 1970s.

From 1972 to 1976 the death penalty was suspended by the Supreme Court. The law has since been refined to not allow its use for virtually anything that isn’t homicide.

The country has never killed more than 200 people in a calendar year.

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