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    Death penalty opponents seek its abolition in Ark.

    8:40 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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    Video: Death penalty opponents seek its abolition in Ark.

    • Death penalty panel hearing. (Photo: Pam Baccam/THV 11 News)
    • Death penalty panel hearing. (Photo: Pam Baccam/THV 11 News)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A man exonerated after spending 10 years on death row spoke out against the death penalty in Arkansas.

    He joined other speakers at the capitol Wednesday as lawmakers take up the issue of victim's families in the same room as the inmate's during execution.

    "There's now been 142 exonerations in our country," said Ray Krone who was convicted for murder and known as the Snaggle-Tooth Murderer in Arizona." The DNA came back from that case with a match from a man currently in prison for having sex with a child and served a previous sentence for raping a woman.

    "I think all the committee members were on the edge of their seats today," said Sen. Robert Thompson (D-Paragould). Thompson said he isn't swayed to abolish the death penalty. "That was an old case from another state."

    Sen. Thompson said he'll vote in favor of a bill that would allow victim's families to attend executions in the same room as the inmates' families like Donald Schmidt whose son, a police officer, died at the hands of Jerry Lard, who now sits on death row.

    "There was overwhelming evidence. Two audio tapes and two videos that showed this man, walking around with a gun in his left hand," said Schmidt.

    Wednesday's testimony was two-fold. It addressed the victims' rights bill which the Senate will vote on Thursday morning. Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up Arkansas' lethal injection law and the chemicals used.

    Currently, the state does not perform executions because the Arkansas Supreme court struck down the law last year. The ruling doesn't invalidate the death penalty, rather it says how lethal injections are performed is unconstitutional.

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