WASHINGTON — Reliance on the death penalty continues to decline with 39 people executed this year, only the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 people were put to death, a private group reported Thursday.
The Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that opposes executions and tracks the issue, also said the number of new death sentences was near its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in the 1970s. There have been 80 new death sentences so far this year, three more than in 2012 and down from 315 in 1996, the group said.
The 39 executions were carried out in nine states. Texas had the most, 16, followed by Florida, which had seven. Oklahoma had six, Ohio three, Arizona and Missouri two each, and Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia, one each. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.