Rep. Petty Presents Bill To Allow Crime Victim Families To Watch Executions In Person

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – Rep. Rebecca Petty, R-Rogers, presented a bill on Thursday before the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee that, if passed, would allow families to watch in person as the individual convicted of murdering their loved one is executed.

Petty’s 12-year-old daughter was raped and killed, and when she learned she couldn’t watch the execution of the man convicted for the crime in person, she became inspired to draft legislation that would change the state’s execution guidelines.

Instead of watching the execution in person, Petty said her family was given the option to watch it on a closed-circuit television monitor. In the end, the man convicted of slaying her daughter had his execution called off after he legally sought to halt it.

The state representative from Rogers said she pre-filed legislation on Dec. 17 called Andi’s Law, named after her daughter, Andi Brewer.  On Jan. 29, she and her sister presented the bill at the Capitol, according to a Facebook post from Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena.

Arkansas conduct of execution guidelines prohibit crime-victim families from watching prisoners being killed in person.

Those observing the execution in person can be a lawyer for the convict being executed, a spiritual adviser of the convict’s or other people designated by the director of the Department of Correction.

The prison facility in Gould where executions take place has about 16 chairs in it, according to Dina Tyler, a spokeswoman for the Department of Correction.

The family of the convict being put to death is also prohibited from viewing the execution. If they show up, they are held at a roadblock about one mile from the prison in Gould, according to Tyler.