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Terrorist acts now carry the death penalty with new law

JACKSON — Acts of terrorism will be added to the list of crimes in Mississippi that could lead to the death penalty, if a victim is killed.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2223 this past week. It takes effect July 1.

Mississippi prosecutors already can pursue the death penalty if a victim is killed while certain other felonies are committed — crimes such as rape or armed robbery. The new law adds terrorism to the list.

The bill defines terrorism as an act committed to influence government by intimidation, coercion, mass destruction or assassination, or to intimidate or coerce civilians.

It specifies that such intimidation or coercion would not include “peaceful picketing, boycotts or other nonviolent action.”

Supporters say the definition of terrorism in the bill mirrors federal law.

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