BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The deadly workplace shooting in Harford County is sparking new debate about the death penalty with the state’s attorney, the sheriff and a state senator who says Maryland is too lax on mass killers.
When former Governor Martin O’Malley signed the repeal of Maryland’s death penalty more than four years ago, Kirk Bloodsworth stood right behind him.
It was a long-fought battle for Bloodsworth, who was sentenced to death, before DNA evidence proved his innocence.
Bloodworth is stunned by comments from Harford County leaders, who want to reinstate capital punishment.
“It only takes one innocent person to be executed. You can’t take it back after,” Bloodworth said. “The death penalty has had its chance. It’s not going to make us safer. It’s a waste of taxpayer money to push a piece of legislation that’s not going to go anywhere.”
But State Senator Robert Cassilly believes there’s no deterrent for mass shooters. He cites accused Edgewood murderer Radee Prince as a prime example.
“It’s outrageous that when someone kills and is eligible for life without parole, they in essence have a license to kill,” Cassilly said.
After years of decline, the number of executions in the United States is growing again, it’s expected to hit 30, the first increase in eight years, despite well-publicized problems with lethal injections.
Maryland is in the minority of states that don’t allow capital punishment.
“The reality is no one is going to have any appetite for this conversation,” said Jane Henderson, a board member of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions.
She says despite a push by some, she doesn’t think the death penalty will ever make a return.
“The death penalty is dead and gone in Maryland, and I don’t think there is anybody except senator Cassilly and a handful of folks in the General Assembly who want to even bring this issue up again,” Henderson said. “It’s a distraction. It always has been a distraction.”