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N.H. bishop urges life, not death penalty, for cop killer
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Tuesday, December 23, 2008
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MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNS)—Although the convicted killer of a Manchester police officer "should be punished by serving the rest of his life in prison," he should not be put to death, Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester said Dec. 18.
If Michael K. Addison, 28, were put to death for the 2006 murder of Officer Michael L. Briggs in the line of duty, it would be the first execution in the state in 69 years. The last death sentence handed down in the state was in 1959, but it was never carried out.
"As a Church, we mourn with Officer Michael Briggs' family and the Manchester Police Department for a life cut too short," said Bishop McCormack in a statement.
"But our society should not take Michael Addison's life because of his crime," added the bishop, whose diocese covers the entire state. "We believe that human life—every human life—is sacred, and is a gift from God."
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kathleen A. McGuire officially handed down the death sentence Dec. 22, also imposing an additional 63 years for various crimes committed by Addison in the six days prior to the murder of Briggs.
Under New Hampshire law, the sentence will automatically be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Addison's attorneys had argued for a life sentence, saying that he suffered from an abusive childhood and possible brain damage because of his mother's excessive drinking while she was pregnant with him.
A 35-year-old father of two and a decorated bicycle patrolman, Briggs was shot in October 2006 while trying to arrest Addison.
New Hampshire law only allows for the death penalty in certain limited circumstances, such as murdering a police officer, murdering for hire and killing someone while committing a rape or kidnapping.
The last person executed in the state was Howard Long of Alton, who was hanged in 1939 for the murder and sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy.

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