For the record, the last execution in Massachusetts occurred on May 9, 1947, at the old Charlestown state prison. Phil Bellino and Edward Gerston were small-time thieves who murdered one of their fellow robbers because they were worried he wouldn’t stand up.
The death penalty was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court, but then states were restored the right to reinstate it in the 1970s. In 1982 the Massachusetts electorate voted 54-35 percent to reinstate the death penalty. The Legislature fine-tuned it, but all for naught — the SJC threw it out in 1984.
The closest we’ve come since then was in 1997, when the House killed a death-penalty bill on a tie 80-80 vote, after a squirrely state rep from Peabody changed his vote. The then-speaker, future felon Tom Finneran, was always opposed to anything other than three hots and a cot for his fellow crooks.
Professional courtesy, I guess.
One thing’s for sure. Old Sparky definitely deters the murderers who are strapped into it from ever killing again. The recidivism rate for executed murderers: zero percent.