Death Penalty Opponents Hold Rally In Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A legislative push to end the death penalty in Maryland gains support.

Death penalty protesters rallied outside the State House Monday, but as political reporter Pat Warren reports, the General Assembly has consistently resisted repeal.

A demonstration outside the State House in Annapolis Monday is a preview of what may be to come as the September execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis fuels the fire of Maryland death penalty protesters. His sister Kim joined a rally in Annapolis.

“We can’t continue to kill innocent people,” she said.

Davis was executed for murder despite evidence that pointed to another shooter. It’s a situation former Maryland death row inmate Kurt Bloodsworth takes to heart.

“You need to get up, sit up, hold your head up and never give up. Even when it gets rough, you get tough. Stop the death penalty now,” he said.

In years past, Governor Martin O’Malley has marched in protest of the death penalty, testified in support of repeal and accepted a commission’s findings that the death penalty should be outlawed in the state. But supporters of capital punishment have held their ground.

“I don’t even like to call it capital punishment and I certainly don’t like to call it the death penalty. What I like to call it is capital justice,” said Delegate Pat McDonough.

The General Assembly modified the rules to require photographic evidence or taped confessions in order for cases to qualify for the death penalty.

It’s not clear yet what role the governor might play in this year’s death penalty debate.

Executions have been suspended in Maryland while the state works out procedural requirements for administering lethal injections.

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