Rep. Doreen Costa (R- Dist. 31, Exeter, North Kingstown) has drafted a resolution asking Governor Lincoln Chafee to abandon his fight to keep accused murderer Jason Pleau in state custody.
Pleau has been the subject of a struggle between federal authorities and Chafee for nearly a year because he could face the death penalty in federal court. On May 10, Chafee said he intends to appeal the U.S First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling telling him to turn over Pleau to federal authorities.
Costa said her resolution asks Chafee to give up the fight out of respect for the family of David Main, whom Pleau is accused of killing during a night deposit robbery at Citizen's Bank.
Costa said she has more than 50 signatures in support of her measure. Sen. Roger Picard (D - Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) said he hasn't seen the resolution, but he supports handing Pleau over to federal authorities. "Yes, absolutely," Picard said.
Costa hasn't submitted the resolution yet, said Larry Berman, communications director for the Speaker. She requested that it be submitted for immediate consideration, which would circumvent committee debate, but House Leader Nicholas A. Mattiello (Democrat - District 15, Cranston) ruled such a controversial matter should go through regular channels, Berman said. The earliest Costa could submit the resolution would be Tuesday, Berman said. He said the measure would not be binding.
Berman said that Reps Jon D. Brien (Democrat - District 50, Woonsocket), Lisa Baldelli-Hunt (Democrat - District 49, Woonsocket) and Robert D. Phillips (Democrat- District 51, Woonsocket) have all signed in support of the resolution.
Deborah Smith, Main's sister, has written to Chafee asking that he end his fight to keep Pleau out of federal custody (see attached transcript). "Our family is hoping for justice for David. It is time for you to stop wasting taxpayers money on this attempt to protect a murderer from being properly prosecuted by the federal system," Smith wrote.
Costa, who spent about 13 years working for a convenience store in the 80s and 90s and used to make night deposits herself, says she is sympathetic with the Main family and wants Chafee to hand over Pleau and bring this aspect of their ordeal to an end. "It could've happend to me," Costa said.
She said she hopes to get the resolution to a vote next week.
Where do you stand on Costa's resolution? Should the Governor give up on keeping Pleau out of federal custody, or should he keep fighting? Weigh in on our poll below.