Opponents Speak Out Against Nebraska Death Penalty


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Death-penalty opponents are pleading with lawmakers toend capital punishment in Nebraska, appealing to their religious and financialsensibilities and arguing that the state has applied it unfairly.

Opponents asked lawmakers Wednesday to advance a repeal measure by stateSen. Ernie Chambers. Chambers, of Omaha, is the Legislature's most outspokendeath-penalty opponent.

The sister of murder victim James Thimm testified that the death penalty hasprolonged her family's suffering by keeping her brother's killer in the publiceye. Thimm's killer, Michael Ryan, has sat on Nebraska's death row for morethan 25 years.

Chambers has three co-sponsors on the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, whotogether make up half of the panel.

The Nebraska County Attorneys Association opposes the bill.