Parents of Murder Victims Launch Campaign Against Newsom’s Death Penalty Moratorium

Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom / Getty Images

A group of parents of Californians killed by those now on the state's death row last week launched a campaign against Governor Gavin Newsom's (D.) moratorium on the death penalty in his state.

The Victims of Murder Justice tour will travel to all 80 Assembly Seats and 40 Senate Districts in the state, NBC Los Angeles reported. They will speak out in protest of Newsom's edict last month, which indefinitely stayed the death sentences of the more than 700 people on California's death row, withdrew the state's lethal injection protocol, and dismantled its execution chamber.

Now, parents of the people murdered by death row residents are speaking out. One was Phyllis Loya, the mother of murdered police officer Larry Lasater, Jr.

"[Newsom] was like a thief in the night that stole justice from us," Loya said.

Families criticized Newsom for his blanket reprieve, arguing that he should have opted to review each case for evidence of the unevenness and racial discrimination he claimed mars it.

"You turned the knife again in my heart," Jeri Oliver, mother of murdered officer Danny Oliver, said. "I dare you to meet with me and I can give you some facts that you don't want to hear. I challenge you Gov. Newsom—come meet with me."

Officer Oliver's murderer, Luis Bracamontes, was sentenced to death in 2018 in a fiery courtroom hearing in which he the killer said he wished he had killed more cops, and called another of his victims, who survived five bullet wounds, a racial slur.

During last week's event, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer called on Newsom to review each case individually. He also indicated that the tour was meant to pressure lawmakers, in advance of yet another ballot measure aimed at death penalty repeal, which supporters aim to put before the public in the 2020 election. Californians have previously rejected death penalty repeal at the ballot box numerous times, most recently in 2016.

A spokesman for Newsom told NBC that he sends his "heartfelt condolences to survivor families."

"The governor sought out and heard from many survivor families as he was making his decision on the death penalty," the spokesman wrote in an email to NBC. "Some supported the death penalty while others strongly believed the state shouldn't take another life in the name of their loved one."

Newsom, meanwhile, spent last week—National Crime Victims' Rights Week—traveling in El Salvador.