ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - North Carolina has not executed an inmate in more than a decade, and now two state lawmakers want to restart the death penalty.
The announcement comes after the Pasquotank County district attorney announced this week he is seeking the death penalty against four inmates charged with killing four prison workers during an escape attempt in October.
Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore called on the governor and attorney general to resume executing prisoners on death row.
“Their failure to fight the moratorium on the death penalty endangers the lives of prison employees in close proximity to hardened murderers with nothing left to lose, who see no possibility they will face execution for killing again," the joint statement read.
North Carolina has 143 inmates on death row but has not executed a criminal since 2006 because of legal challenges and concerns over the execution drugs.
Investigators said four inmates attacked Pasquotank Correctional Institution guards with scissors and knives.
One of the inmates, Wisezah Buckman, was in prison for the 2014 murder of Thurmont Davis in west Charlotte.
Statement from Berger and Moore:
The Pasquotank County District Attorney announced Wednesday he is seeking the death penalty against four inmates charged with first-degree murder in the brutal killings of three state correctional officers and a manager of a prison rehabilitative work program during an attempted escape from Pasquotank Correctional Institute in October. Their vicious attack with scissors and hammers also battered eight other employees.
The inmates have lengthy violent rap sheets. One of the inmates was incarcerated for murdering a co-worker and injuring another behind a Charlotte gas station, one for stabbing a military wife with a kitchen knife 15 times, one for shooting a state trooper in the face, and one for first-degree burglary.
On Friday, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) called on Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein to restart the death penalty in North Carolina.
“For over a decade, death penalty opponents like Roy Cooper and Josh Stein have imposed a de-facto moratorium on capital punishment in North Carolina, using every legal trick possible –including inaction – to delay death sentences handed down by juries and deny justice to victims,” said Berger. “No matter what they say, Cooper’s and Stein’s indifference and failure to fight the moratorium endangers the lives of prison employees in close proximity to hardened murderers with nothing left to lose, who see no possibility they will face execution for killing again.”
“In light of the prosecutor’s decision to pursue the death penalty, Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein need to make certain, should a jury sentence these men to death, that those sentences are carried out,” said Moore.
North Carolina currently has 143 inmates on death row, and has not conducted an execution since 2006 due to a slew of legal challenges that have resulted in a de-facto moratorium on the death penalty.
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