Death penalty ruling disappoints victim families, advocates

TORRINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the law that repealed the death penalty going forward, but kept it for those already sentenced, as unconstitutional on Thursday. That means that the 11 men on the state’s death row will no longer be subject to execution orders. Victim advocates say the ruling doesn’t give justice to the families who lost a loved one.

“As the daughter of Mary Badaracco, I’m going to be her voice and I’m going to ask every person to please, half a second, put your feet in our shoes, stand up, and raise your voice. This is not right,” said Beth Profeta, whose mother vanished from her Sherman home in 1984. Although Badaracco’s body was never found, the case was reclassified as a homicide when new evidence surfaced. Her killer has never been caught.

Profeta says any family of a horrific crime deserves justice.

“I think it never goes away for us,” she said. “My case is a little different, but it is like an open wound that gets ripped open, and I am sure that is how these families feel.”

Criminal defense lawyer Norm Pattis represented several people on death row, one of those being convicted killer Daniel Webb.

“There is not legitimate purpose for the death penalty,” he said. “Making the victims families feel good is a luxury we can’t afford.”

Webb was sentenced to death in 1991 for the kidnapping and murder of Diane Gellenbeck. She was abducted from a Hartford parking lot as she was leaving her office. Webb drove her to Keney Park where he attempted to rape her and shot her when she broke free. Pattis says the law is evolving.

“I don’t think anything is accomplished by death,” Pattis said. “Bloodlust is not justice.”

“Anyone who is missing, the perpetrator took your basic human right away by taking away your loved one and not being able to say goodbye,” Profeta said.

Victim advocates say they will continue to fight for justice.

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