A new booklet called “Voices of Utah,” published by Utah Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, shares the stories of murder victims’ family members, law enforcement professionals, and conservative activists who support ending the death penalty in Utah.
Former Utah Assistant Attorney General Creighton Horton provides the introduction to the booklet, noting his years of work with law enforcement officials and the families of murder victims. “Their voices should be heard and considered by us all,” he says, “and particularly by those in a position to shape public policy in the future.”
Layton resident Christine Stenquist’s sister, Sunday Blombergh, was murdered in 2010. “We told the state that we didn’t want the death penalty because we knew that we’d spend decades reliving this tragedy,” Stenquist says in the booklet. “It has allowed our family to more easily heal and move on, without having to continually see the faces and hear the names of those that took her from us.”
Brett Tolman, former U.S. Attorney for Utah, explains: “It is precisely because of my experiences as a federal prosecutor that I can no longer support the death penalty.” Tolman says that many of the families in cases in which he has worked “have emphasized a lack of closure and futility in the application of the death penalty.”
The booklet also showcases the growing conservative opposition to the death penalty in Utah.
“For a variety of reasons, it doesn’t align with my conservative ideals,” said Heidi Balderree, a Republican grassroots activist and campaign manager from Saratoga Springs. “The death penalty is insanely expensive, as many studies have shown, and I believe taxpayer dollars can be more effectively spent within the criminal justice system.”