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The Republican-led Missouri Senate for the first time in years debated a bill to repeal the state's death penalty, though the measure is unlikely to advance

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JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — The Republican-led Missouri Senate for the first time in years debated a bill to repeal the state's death penalty, though the measure is unlikely to advance.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers to implored their colleagues Monday to end capital punishment.

Missouri has executed 18 killers in the last two years.

Republican Sen. Paul Wieland of Imperial, who is Catholic, introduced the measure. He opposes both abortion and the death penalty.

Others who testified in support cited people on death row who were later exonerated. Some argued black defendants are disproportionately sentenced to death.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican running for attorney general, opposed it. He says killers sentenced to death commit the most egregious crimes.

Wieland says he doesn't think the bill has enough support to pass the Senate and doesn't plan to bring it up again.

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