COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati and Bishop Frederick Campbell of Columbus are among 10 Catholic church leaders in Ohio who have signed a statement urging the state to stop using the death penalty, weeks after an Ohio Supreme Court justice issued the same call.
Ohio put eight people to death last year, the most since 1949, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
The statement signed by the Catholic bishops said they believe capital punishment is wrong in nearly all cases and that "just punishment can occur without resorting to the death penalty."
Former state prisons director Terry Collins and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer also recently called for an end to capital punishment in Ohio. Pfeifer, a Republican, helped write Ohio's death penalty law and was one of its leading proponents as a state legislator in the 1970s and 1980s, but he said it's being used in cases for which it wasn't intended.
"I think the time's right on this one," he said last month. "You have Republicans in every direction. . With that political configuration, it would be the most opportune time to seriously debate and discuss whether or not we have the death penalty."