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Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 11:59am

Groups Join To End Death Penalty

An Atlanta lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to abolish the death penalty in Georgia. State Senator Vincent Fort has the backing of 12 organizations. They say the state unfairly applies capital punishment on the basis of race and class.

At a Thursday news conference, Senator Fort, who is a Democrat, admitted the group faces an uphill battle:

"Death penalty is a very difficult issue but we think that we can educate the public, which is critical. No legislation can pass of this sort without support from the public...What I can tell you is that we're going to fight as hard as we can to pass the legislation.”

The conference was held just hours before the first court appearance of Ryan Brunn, the northwest Georgia man accused of murdering 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. The girl’s family members have called for her killer’s execution.

Georgia made international headlines in September when it executed Troy Davis for the 1989 death of a Savannah police officer.