For immediate release: March 28, 2023
Celina Coming |
Allison Cohen |

COLUMBUS―The Ohio Senate has introduced a bill to repeal Ohio’s death penalty. Sponsored by Senator Nickie J. Antonio and Senator Steve Huffman, the bill would abolish capital punishment in Ohio and replace it with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Hearcel Craig, Senator Catherine Ingram, Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson, Senator Kent Smith, Senator William DeMora, Senator Vernon Sykes, Senator Michele Reynolds, Senator Louis Blessing III, Senator George Lang and Senator Kristina Roegner.

The No Death Penalty Ohio Coalition, working to abolish capital punishment in Ohio, celebrates this news. The coalition, which consists of over 80 diverse organizations, believes the death penalty is ineffective, expensive, error-prone and racially biased.

“This is a really exciting day,” said Allison Cohen, Executive Director of Ohioans to Stop Executions. “Last session, we had four Republicans on the bill and this time, we have five. Not to mention, every single Democrat has signed on in support. The new names that you see on this bill demonstrate just how strong the bipartisan support for ending the death penalty is in the legislature. I am very hopeful that this is the time to come together and agree that Ohio is better off without the death penalty.”

The bill comes at a time of waning support for the death penalty in Ohio. Ohio juries haven’t returned a death sentence in two years and recent polls have indicated that most Ohioans favor other sentencing options.

The bill has already garnered support from a diverse group of organizations known as the No Death Penalty Ohio coalition, including the Ohio Council of Churches, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the Ohio Conference of the NAACP, and the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.

"The death penalty is a broken system that fails to deliver justice and fairness," said Sean McCann, Policy Strategist at the ACLU of Ohio. "It is time for Ohio to take a bold step towards a more just and humane criminal justice system by abolishing capital punishment  once and for all. We celebrate this morning’s bill introduction and are ready to get to work."

Beyond the practical flaws of the death penalty, the coalition leaders say that capital punishment is fundamentally an issue that lies in the hearts and minds of Ohioans.

“Our organization works intimately with people on death row and we see the humanity of this issue every day. I think that fundamentally, Ohioans want to believe in redemption and restoration,” said Allison Reynolds-Berry, Executive Director of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. “The death penalty isn’t offering either of those things.”

If the bill is passed, Ohio would become the 24th state in the United States to repeal the death penalty.