By King Salim Khalfani and Stephen A. Northup
According to the most recent polling data, public support for the death penalty is at its lowest level in decades. Four states have ended capital punishment since 2007 and strong abolition efforts are underway in a number of other states.
So where is Virginia in this current national debate?
Virginia has a long and dark history with the death penalty. The first execution in the New World took place here in 1608 when Captain George Kendall was executed in Jamestown for spying. Throughout its history, Virginia has executed more than 1,300 people, more than any other state. Virginia has executed more women and the youngest children of any state. Since the resumption of capital punishment in the late 1970s following a de facto moratorium imposed by the courts, Virginia has executed 109 people, second only to Texas.