CHICOPEE, Mass.—The Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates split during a debate on reinstituting the death penalty, as they debated in a region of the state still shaken by a serial killer's admission in the murder of nine women.
Hampden District Attorney William Bennett said this week that Alfred Gaynor of Springfield had admitted being responsible for five more slayings on top of the four killings for which he was convicted in 2000. The murders traumatized the region during the mid-1990s.
Both Republican Charles Baker and independent candidate Timothy Cahill said they support reinstituting the death penalty, while the incumbent governor, Democrat Deval Patrick, and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein said they oppose it.
All four spoke during an hourlong debate Thursday at WWLP-TV, their only debate in western Massachusetts this election year. Besides the death penalty, questions focused on regional issues such as Massachusetts Turnpike tolls, the future of the biomass industry and local economic development.