ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—This week the fight over the death penalty is back. Lawmakers will hear testimony on a bill to get rid of capital punishment in Maryland. Now there’s strong and surprising words on the controversial issue.

Adam May has more.

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Praying for legislation. Opponents to the death penalty renew calls to end the punishment in Maryland. It comes just days before the General Assembly begins examining the controversial issue.

Baltimore’s archbishop made a little known confession during a prayer service aimed at increasing support to repeal the death penalty.

“I was for the death penalty most of my life, then I looked into it more deeply. And I realized as a man of faith and a Catholic, I had to take life more seriously and respect it more,” said Archbishop Edwin O’Brien. “The death penalty is not only injustice and expensive, but it doesn’t deter crime.”

Debate will begin this week on a bill that would end the death penalty in Maryland.

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It has the support of Gov. Martin O’Malley, but the Senate president opposes it.

“There was a crime in Baltimore where a guy killed a shopkeeper and locked him in a freezer with a little child overnight with his dead dad in a freezer.  Someone who commits a crime like that deserves the death penalty,” said Sen. President Mike Miller, (D) Maryland.

But a woman in the crowd—still hoping her brother’s killer is caught—does not want capital justice.

“We would want it to be a time of healing for everybody, not a time to continue violence because that doesn’t honor my brother,” said Erica Bridgeford, death penalty opponent.

“I spent almost nine years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit, and for that reason alone, the death penalty should be done away with,” said Kirk Bloodsworth, who was proven innocent.

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Just a few days ago, Illinois repealed its death penalty. Governor Patt Quinn said it was wasting millions of tax dollars.