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MO House passes mandatory death penalty law

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House has passed a bill that would mandate the death penalty for those convicted of murdering a police officer.

Gov. Matt Blunt called for such legislation during his State of the State Address this year. "I think we've done a good job crafting a good piece of legislation," Blunt said Thursday. "I think it's important to send a clear message that we respect our law enforcement personnel, and if they're harmed or killed in the line of duty, we're going to take that extremely seriously."

The measure now goes to the Missouri Senate.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that mandatory death sentences for killing police officers were unconstitutional. Missouri's proposal includes a provision in which a court could allow for a life sentence without parole, if the killer can prove his or her life should be spared.