State Lawmakers Plan to Introduce Legislation Reinstating the Death Penalty in Delaware


Delaware State Representatives Tim Dukes and Danny Short have announced that they are planning to introduce legislation in January that would reinstate the death penalty in Delaware for anyone convicted of the murder of a law enforcement or public safety officer. That would include corrections officers and firefighters. This is in response to Monday’s life-in-prison conviction of the man found guilty in the death of Delmar Police Cpl Keith Heacook in 2021.

Additional information from the Delaware Republican Caucus:
In 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court struck down Delaware’s capital punishment statute. Before that, there were 22 aggravating circumstances that, when linked to the commission of a murder, could have warranted capital punishment.

The new bill will mirror legislation that was drafted by Rep. Short in 2020, but had not been officially introduced. The revamped measure will be focused on addressing the constitutional issues cited by the High Court in order to restore the current capital punishment law and to reserve the death penalty for only murders committed under the following aggravating circumstance: killing a police officer or public safety official.

In the meantime, Randon Wilkerson, 32, was convicted earlier this week for the murder of Corporal Heacook.

Wilkerson will serve the rest of his life in prison following a stipulated non-jury trial in which he was convicted of 16 charges, including two counts of Murder 1st Degree and 11 other felonies.