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Patrick 'Horrified' By Boy's Fatal Beating, But Won't Support Death Penalty

This article is more than 10 years old.

Gov. Deval Patrick said he was "horrified" by the details of the alleged beating death of a 7-year-old Worcester boy by his father last weekend, but will not change his opposition to the death penalty.

The case where Leslie Schuler allegedly beat his son, Nathaniel Turner, into a coma on Father's Day has renewed a push for capital punishment among some lawmakers.

But the governor said he still does not support the death penalty, even though he understood that families might want to seek retribution for heinous crimes.

"I fully understand as a parent the instinct to want to," Gov. Patrick said, then paused for a few seconds. "I think you know what I'm trying to say — or trying not to say — but I think that public policy has to be made with greater care."

Patrick spent three years working on death penalty and voter's rights cases for the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund in the 1980s. He said that experience made him "deeply skeptical" of people.

But lawmakers like Rep. James Miceli of Wilmington are pushing to make capital punishment legal in Massachusetts again. Miceli is trying to organize other pro-death penalty lawmakers at the State House on Thursday.

The state's Supreme Judicial Court abolished the death penalty in 1984. No one had been executed under the law since 1947.

This program aired on June 25, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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