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N.H. death penalty debate heats up

CONCORD, N.H., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- New Hampshire's fight over capital punishment is expected to heat up now that a man convicted of killing a police officer was sentenced to death, observers say.

The state has not had a death row in more than 30 years or an execution for nearly seven decades.

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The longstanding debate over whether to ban the death penalty went from philosophical to reality Thursday when Michael Addison was sentenced to die for the 2006 slaying of Manchester patrolman Michael Briggs, The (Nashua) Telegraph reported.

Two years ago, a move to repeal the law failed in the House by only 12 votes. Current Gov. John Lynch has vowed to veto a repeal if such a bill reaches his desk.

Veteran observers agree a two-thirds majority needed to override that decision is unlikely in the House with Republicans having picked up 17 seats in last month's elections.

Costs to build a death row would be among the questions that would be put before a commission studying whether it is cheaper to execute or finance life imprisonment without parole while Addison's appeals continue.

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