State Rep. Terry Landry, a New Iberia Democrat and retired superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, isn't running for re-election this fall after serving two terms in the Louisiana Legislature.

Landry surprised colleagues by announcing his decision while imploring the House Criminal Justice Committee to back his bill to abolish the death penalty on Tuesday morning, a cause he's championed for several years

Landry noted he wasn't running for re-election to emphasize that he viewed capital punishment as a moral, not a political, issue. The bill advanced out of committee on a narrow 8-to-7 vote.

Debate on whether to abolish the death penalty heads to the Louisiana House

"I've served since I was 19 years old when I went into the Army," Landry told The Advocate after the hearing.

Landry's tall frame and deep voice made him a hard-to-miss presence around the State Capitol. He chairs the House Transportation Committee.

After serving in the Vietnam War and working as a policeman in New Iberia,  Landry launched a lengthy and distinguished career in the Louisiana State Police, which he led as superintendent from 2000 to 2004 under then-Gov. Mike Foster, a Republican.

Landry worked as chief of police for Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College after his retirement from State Police. He won the House District 96 seat in 2011, which covers portions of Iberia, St. Martin and Lafayette parishes, replacing outgoing state Rep. Juan LaFonta, a fellow Democrat.

Landry now joins a lengthy list of current state lawmakers who won't be returning next year, though Landry, unlike many of his departing colleagues, is not term-limited and would've been eligible to seek a third term.

"I've done a lot and I want to enjoy life, I want to enjoy my grandchildren and my wife," said Landry. "I've led a great life, I've had a real good career, I'm at peace."

Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.