Death Penalty Tossed Out in Washington for Violating State Constitution

The ruling was in the case of Allen Eugene Gregory, who was convicted of raping, robbing and killing Geneine Harshfield, a 43-year-old woman, in 1996

Washington Brown Execution
Ted S. Warren/AP, File

Washington state's Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty violates its Constitution.

The ruling Thursday makes Washington the latest state to do away with capital punishment. The justices said the "death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially." They ordered that people currently on death row have their sentences converted to life in prison.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a one-time supporter of capital punishment, had previously said no executions will take place while he's in office.

The ruling was in the case of Allen Eugene Gregory, who was convicted of raping, robbing and killing Geneine Harshfield, a 43-year-old woman, in 1996.

His lawyers said the death penalty is arbitrarily applied and that it is not applied proportionally, as the state Constitution requires.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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