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Locals react to state's decision to remove the death penalty

Locals react to state's decision to remove the death penalty

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Criminals can no longer be put to death in the state of Washington.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional on Thursday.

Back in 2014, Governor Jay Inslee put a halt to all executions in the state.

"Whether you are for or against in an ideal standpoint capital punishment, all of us ought to agree that it ought to be fair and equal and it simply is not," Inslee said.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said it was a broken system that needed to be fixed.

Washington state tried twice to make the penalty fair but Ferguson said it is racially biased.

"If two individuals are faced with the same charges, an African-American person and a Caucasian person for example, all of the factors being the same, an African-American is four and a half times more likely to get the death penalty," Ferguson said.

He said the decision is final and can't be appealed.

Locals in the community are reacting to this decision. Clayton Minnix said he is glad to see it lifted.

"I never thought that a judge or anybody should have been in charge of anybody's life, cause that's ultimately up to God himself," Minnix said.

Another local man Larry Boss said he can see both sides.

"If somebody was in prison who is innocent was to be put to death that's kind of an injustice," Boss said. "But at the same time somebody like a Charles Manson type who deserves to be put to death should be able to so I am kind of indifferent about it."

Ferguson said the eight people currently on death row in Washington will now serve life in prison without parole.

The last time a person was executed in Washington was in 2010.

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