JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, offered a Senate amendment to Senate Bill 663, which would add the act of committing first-degree murder as a form of terrorism to the list of aggravating circumstances worthy of capital punishment. Senator Schaefer’s amendment was adopted into the legislation on April 27.
The amendment states that a murder committed with the intention of coercing or intimidating a civilian population, influencing government policy or affecting government conduct should be considered a first-degree offense that may be punishable by the death penalty. The legislation the amendment modifies deals with multiple provisions relating to law enforcement officers, land description preparations, court funds, circuit courts, crime, civil actions and public defenders. Senate Bill 663 has been third read and passed in the Senate.
“The death penalty in Missouri has been reserved for the most heinous criminals,” Sen. Schaefer said. “I am pleased that my colleagues agreed that terrorists are deserving of this consideration.”
Current Missouri law does not include explicit definitions of terrorism-motivated first-degree murders within the list of aggravating circumstances judges and juries consider. Senator Schaefer’s Senate amendment would help define that specific type of crime.