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Life Or Death Decision: Md. Lawmakers Vote To Repeal 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) — Maryland is about to become the 18th state in the nation to abolish the death penalty.

Friday, the General Assembly approved the law, sending it to the governor’s desk where he will sign it.

Political reporter Pat Warren has reaction to this emotional issue.

Repealed. This is a day death penalty opponents and Governor O’Malley have been working toward for years.

Maryland has repealed the death penalty. It’s the sixth state in six years, the 18th state in the nation and the first state below the Mason-Dixon line to abolish capital punishment.

“An issue that says so much about us, and yet an issue that many states have not yet been able to face full-on with the sort of truth and the sort of understanding that the people of Maryland and the people of this General Assembly brought to this issue,” said Governor O’Malley.

Supporters of the death penalty raised strong objections on the House floor.

“Who gave this guy the right to take someone else’s life? What makes me guilty if I have to take his? You’re not going to make me feel guilty about pulling that switch. I’m going to tell you right now,” said Del. Theodore Sophocleus.

“I  hope that you have the courage, the courage when someone is murdered by a repeat offender that we let out of jail, that you have the courage to go to their family and go that funeral and say ‘I helped make sure that your child, your loved one was murdered.’ I hope you have that courage,” said Del. Rick Impallaria.

And this may not be the last time they get to vote. The repeal is expected to go to referendum.

The next immediate step is for the governor to sign the bill.

Archbishop William Lori released a statement after the vote saying:

“I applaud the Maryland General Assembly for choosing to meet evil not with evil, but with a justice worthy of our best nature as human beings.”

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