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Md. House To Discuss Death Penalty Repeal

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland House of Delegates will decide whether to repeal Maryland’s death penalty. Lawmakers open their debate in Annapolis Wednesday evening.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the potential outcome.

Death penalty supporters have seen their position on capital punishment upheld by the General Assembly over the course of a decade.

“I think it’s only fair that the death penalty be kept and be enforced,” said one supporter.

Now life and death is in the hands of the Maryland House of Delegates.

“Revenge isn’t going to heal us,” said Ericka Bridgeford.

Governor Martin O’Malley proposes and the Senate surrendered its long-held ground against repeal to approve abolishing capital punishment and replacing it with life without parole.

“Capital punishment is expensive. It does not work and I humbly urge you to replace it with life without parole,” O’Malley said.

The Senate voted 27-20 to repeal. With 141 members, the House needs 71 votes to abolish the death penalty.

“A majority of the House of Delegates–like the majority of the Senate and the majority of the people of Maryland–believe we should put an end to the death penalty in this state,” said Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, who co-sponsored the bill.

But the debate in the House may be different, even if the outcome is the same.

“I see it dividing along very different lines. It’s hard to tell how it’s going to turn out,” said House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell.

Supporters have expressed confidence the bill will pass.

A vote could come as soon as Friday.

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