Senator Tries to Force a Vote on Death Penalty Bill [VIDEO]
State Senator Bob Singer is adamant about re-instating the death penalty in New Jersey on a limited basis. Yesterday, Singer tried to force a vote by the full Senate on a bill he's sponsoring that would reinstate the death penalty in New Jersey for those who murder a child, kill a police officer in the line of duty or commit a terrorist attack that results in fatalities. He was blocked by Democrats who control the Upper House.
"I do not support the death penalty out of a need for revenge or due to malice in my heart. Neither do the many individuals I have met who have suffered from heinous crimes," explains Singer. "I support the death penalty because sometimes it is the only way to achieve justice for the victims and families affected by horrible crimes. I am well aware that the death penalty will not bring back a murdered child, slain police officer or a victim of terrorism. For certain crimes life in prison is just not punishment enough."
Arthur Morgan III, accused of killing his 2-year-old daughter Tiara by throwing her off a Monmouth County bridge, leaving her in a creek still strapped into her car seat and then fleeing to California deserves to die says Singer.
The Senator explains, "The concept of the bill is to reinstate the death penalty which I voted against eliminating several years ago (2007). The bill would be specific that it would have to be murdering a police officer on duty, an act of terrorism where someone is killed and murdering a child."
"There are certain crimes that are so heinous that they certainly deserve the death penalty," insists Singer. "Think about this crime. Throwing a baby alive off a bridge, weighted down to her death in water. Killing a 2-year-old the way this baby was killed goes beyond reason."
The Senator is hoping to garner support from municipalities, the law enforcement community and more of his fellow legislators. He's confident that he can, explaining, "There were 16 Senators who supported not abolishing the death penalty so there is a large group of Senators that were concerned about it."
Singer vows to re-introduce his limited death penalty bill again next year and every year after that until public pressure forces lawmakers to vote on it. He strongly believes it would pass.
When he introduced his limited death penalty bill in January in response to another tragedy, Singer said, "When we take a look at this heinous crime that just happened to a Lakewood police officer, a fine young man, there are certain crimes that raise the bar and that you have to have a severe consequence." The Senator's 30th legislative district includes Lakewood.
Lakewood police officer Christopher Matlosz, 27, was on patrol in January of this year in a residential neighborhood in Lakewood that had been the scene of several drive-by shootings. He pulled his police cruiser up to a person on the sidewalk and began talking to him in a non-confrontational manner, authorities said. Suddenly, the pedestrian pulled a handgun out of his baggy clothing and opened fire, shooting the officer three times. Matlosz slumped behind the wheel, mortally wounded, as the suspect ran away.
Police arrested 19-year-old Jahmell Crockam, who was hiding in an apartment in Camden, about 60 miles from the crime scene. He is charged with murder and weapons offenses, and is being held on $5 million bail. His public defender says Crockam plans to plead innocent at his arraignment, which has not been scheduled.
Authorities said yesterday that Crockam and another man are now being charged with another murder, the October 15 shooting death of Justin Williams, whose body was found dumped on a street corner. Information leading to the new murder charge was developed as police investigated the slaying of the officer.
Asked if the possibility of the death penalty might have stopped Crockham from killing, Singer said at the time, "He thinks he's going to enter prison like a rock star…….Everyone's very brave talking about things until they're looking it straight in the eye so I think it (capital punishment) is a deterrent."
Singer also wants legislators to take a close look at the lengthy appeals process that bogged down death penalty cases before it was abolished. He explains, "The problem with the last bill is no one ever died from it."
Video by Dino Flammia