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Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Votes To Repeal Md. Death Penalty

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—A key legislative committee votes to repeal Maryland’s death penalty.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the measure passed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in a 6-5 vote with amendments on Thursday.

On Thursday at Lawyers’ Mall, some Marylanders lined up on the side of life without parole.

“Revenge isn’t going to bring our loved one back, and revenge isn’t going to heal us,” said Erika Bridgeport, death penalty repeal advocate.

And other Marylanders lined up on the side of death by lethal injection.

“I was thrust into this death penalty debate by the murder of my brother, Baltimore County Police Sergeant Bruce Prothero. It’s a murder in which four armed gunman entered a jewelry store to rob it of its possessions,” said Rick Prothero, death penalty advocate.

His testimony was heard, and the Judicial Proceedings Committee is ready to move the bill to the full Senate.

Baltimore Senator Lisa Gladden has been working on repeal for 10 years. She also serves on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which until now has consistently refused to approve the bill for a full Senate vote.

“I think it’s going to happen, and I think today is the day,” said Sen. Gladden, D-Baltimore.

Baltimore County Senator James Brochin, also on the committee, told WJZ he will vote against repeal.

“You take death off as an option and you start with life without parole, and then you take a plea of life. Life means 25-30 years in Maryland. To me that’s unacceptable for a rapist or a murderer,” Brochin said.

Baltimore County Senator Robert Zirkin says he’s conflicted but will vote to repeal.

“I’d like to kill these people myself, some of these monsters,” he said. “But down here you’ve got to separate the emotional desire for that versus the practical legal reality.”

The bill will now go to the full Senate, where it is understood there are enough votes to approve the repeal.

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