Before Governor Gavin Newsom halted the death penalty in California, he met with parents, like Amanda Wilcox and Marc Klaas. Both of their daughters had been murdered, and they both had two very different reactions to the temporary moratorium on capital punishment.
Marc Klaas’s daughter, 12-year-old Polly, was kidnapped during a slumber party in Petaluma in 1993. He was sentenced to die and is still housed at San Quentin’s death row. Polly’s death galvanized support for California’s three strikes law and President Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill. When Governor Gavin Newsom told Klaas that he was halting the death penalty, Klaas felt angry and disappointed.
Amanda Wilcox’s daughter, Laura, was shot and killed while she was home for winter break in Nevada County, near Lake County. The man who shot Laura was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Laura’s death inspired Laura’s Law, which allows judges to force severely mentally ill people to receive treatment. When Governor Gavin Newsom told her he was halting the death penalty, Wilcox was relieved and felt heard.