New Mexico Governor to Ban Death Penalty in New Mexico

By Deborah Baker

Associated Press Writer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Gov. Bill Richardson says he will sign a bill repealing New Mexico's death penalty.

The bill replaces the sentence of death by lethal injection with one of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The governor had until midnight Wednesday to decide whether to sign the bill lawmakers sent him last week.

New Mexico is only the second state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

It joins 14 other states that do not have capital punishment.

New Mexico has executed nine men since 1933. The most recent execution was in 2001.

There are two men on death row whose sentences are not affected by the repeal.