Shasta, Butte County District Attorneys speak out against death penalty moratorium

Both the Shasta County and Butte County District Attorneys disagree with the decision made by Governor Gavin Newsom to temporarily ban the death penalty in California.

Posted: Mar. 14, 2019 11:54 AM
Updated: Mar. 14, 2019 12:02 PM

SHASTA AND BUTTE COUNTIES, Calif. - Both the Shasta County and Butte County District Attorneys disagree with the decision made by Governor Gavin Newsom to temporarily ban the death penalty in California.

Butte County

Three people have been convicted of death row crimes in Butte County, including: 

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said he is disappointed in Governor Newsom's decision to go against what the people want. 

Voters acted to keep the death penalty three times. 

"I think the death penalty helps deter people from doing violent crimes and I think it's important that we keep the death penalty," said Brian Holcombe, a resident in Butte County. "I voted to keep the death penalty. I think it's wrong to put a moratorium on what we voted on."

Ramsey also expressed some concern for the language of the Governor's order. 

"All of those people who would be on death row, and this is where it's confusing, does it mean that he's changing their sentence from death to life without possibility?" Ramsey said. "Or to some other sentence which would them allow them at some point to be out? We don't know."

Ramsey said he believes in the death penalty but he argues for that sentence sparingly. He also said that this order could make the state less safe. 

Shasta County

Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett is also speaking out against the Governor's decision. 

Shasta County currently has eight inmates on death row, including: 

  • Tomas Cruz

  • Todd Jesse Garton

  • Thomas H. Lenart

  • Milton Otis Lewis

  • Robert E. Maury

  • William A. Proctor

  • Charles D. Riel

  • Scott Paul Varner

Bridgett said she stands behind the sentences of every one of the inmates and she's disappointed in the Governor's decision. 

"I certainly am not supportive of the decision that he made," she said. "I think it's contrary to the will of the people, not only in Shasta County, but just statewide. This has gone before the voters and they have clearly and overwhelmingly said that they want to continue to have the death penalty in the state of California."

In Tehama County, there is one inmate on death row, Andrew Mickel. A jury convicted Mickel of killing Red Bluff police officer Dave Mobilio in 2002. 

See a breakdown of county numbers below. This will continue to be updated as information comes in. 

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