Senator seeks stiffer punishment for decapitations

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The chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee says Indiana needs stronger penalties for decapitation.

Republican Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford cites a gruesome beheading in Oklahoma last month as the reason for the change. He has asked staff to draft legislation that would add decapitation or attempted decapitation to the crimes punishable by life without parole or the death penalty.

Indiana law already provides life without parole or the death penalty for anyone convicted of torturing or mutilating before a killing. It also provides a possible death sentence for anyone who dismembers a homicide victim.

However, The Indianapolis Star reports that legislative staff told Steele that decapitation isn't considered mutilation or dismemberment, so beheading someone isn't currently eligible for the stiffer penalties under state law.

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