NM governor signs death penalty repeal

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ Governor Richardson has signed legislation to repeal New Mexico's death penalty, calling it the most difficult decision in his political life.

The legislation replaces lethal injection with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Richardson says the system for imposing the death penalty can never be perfect and his conscience compelled him to replace the death penalty with a solution that keeps society safe.

Richardson faced a deadline of midnight for making a decision on the bill that lawmakers sent him last week. New Mexico is only the second state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

By signing the measure lawmakers sent him last week, New Mexico joins 14 other states that do not impose capital punishment.