Chafee wishes accused murderer luck in avoiding death penalty

Dee DeQuattro

With Reporting By:

Melissa Toupin

Abbey Niezgoda

Accused murderer Jason Pleau was in Federal Court Wednesday asking a Federal Judge to take the death penalty option off the table in his case.

Pleau is accused of the 2010 murder of David Main outside a Woonsocket Citizen's Bank. His lawyers are set to argue why Pleau should not face the death penalty before U.S. District Court Judge William Smith. One of the arguments made is that the death penalty is unconstitutional in the State of Rhode Island. 

“I wish him luck,” Governor Lincoln Chafee who is against the death penalty told ABC6 when discussing the lawyers arguments regarding whether Pleau should face the death penalty. Chafee attempted to keep Pleau in state custody because of the state's opposition to the death penalty but the Supreme Court decided not to hear his appeal.

“Rhode Islanders have been opposed to the death penalty going back to the 1800's when we possibly executed innocent men and so let's hope Jason Pleau's lawyers are successful,” said Chafee.

The Governor's controversial comments set off at least one state lawmaker. Republican State Representative Joe Trillo of Warwick says wishing an accused murder “luck” goes too far.

“His comments demonstrate one more time how out of touch with reality this Governor is,” said Trillo. “How can you not feel for that family? They should be sadden to think that our Governor is standing up for such a rotten criminal.”

David Main's friend and colleague Lauren Carriere says the Governor has already delayed this case and her closure long enough. She says these comments are just a slap in the face.

“He has no right saying good luck to someone that intentionally murdered an innocent man,” Carriere said. “Basically what Governor Chafee is saying is it's okay to murder someone. It's not okay to murder someone. How can you pat someone on the back and say it's okay?”

The case will now proceed in Federal Court.

Pleau allegedly shot and robbed Main when he was making a daily deposit for the nearby Shell Gas Station he managed.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013

Clarification: Chafee wished luck to the lawyers opposition to the death penalty and Pleau's bid to avoid the death penalty.