Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, has introduced legislation requiring a death penalty review for incarcerated individuals who commit aggravated murder.
Senate Bill 5364 would ensure that if a person is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and the murder occurs while the individual is already incarcerated, a request review must be submitted to the state death penalty review panel.
Wagoner’s legislation is named in honor of corrections officer Jayme Biendl, who was killed by an inmate in 2011. Biendl was strangled in the 39th Legislative District’s Monroe Correctional Facility on Jan. 29, 2011. She had served with the Washington State Department of Corrections for eight years.
“I know that this is a very divisive issue that many people feel very strongly about, but I believe there must be consequences for incarcerated individuals who commit murder,” Wagoner said. “This issue hits close to home as officer Biendl worked in my legislative district and I believe justice wasn’t served in this case.”
In 2018, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional due to racial dispr
oportionality. By creating a death penalty review panel that would look at a many different factors before recommending the death penalty be pursued, Wagoner’s bill would not violate the state’s constitution.
The 2019 legislative session began on Jan. 14. It is scheduled to last 105 days.
Listen to my interview with Kirby Wilbur: