BALTIMORE (WJZ)–A convicted killer may have his death sentence thrown out. That’s because state officials say they have no way to execute Jody Lee Miles. The victim’s family says they feel betrayed.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the impact this case could have.
Attorney General Doug Gansler says since the state doesn’t have the legal means to perform an execution, the death sentence can no longer stand.
Her son’s killer has sat on death row for 15 years.
“No other family should have to go through what we have been through,” said Dottie Atkinson.
Now word that the sentence for Miles could be lessened has enraged her.
“We get some hope each time and then all of sudden all these appeals have been in our favor and then all of a sudden we get this news that we’ve been let down,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson’s son Edward was found shot to death on the side of a Wicomico County road in 1997.
Miles admits to the killing.
But now that Maryland has repealed the death penalty, defense attorneys for Miles are pushing for a new sentence.
Gansler agrees, filing a brief asking that Miles gets life in prison without parole.
“Life without parole is a death sentence. You are dying in jail,” Gansler said.
Miles is one of four inmates currently on death row here in Maryland.
A ruling could set the stage for legal battles for the other inmates.
Gansler says since a Court of Appeals struck down Maryland’s lethal injection procedures in 2006, it’s impossible to execute anyone.
“There would be no way upon which we could carry out the execution even if someone wanted to do that,” he said.
Miles’ attorney argues his client deserves to be off death row.
“There is a possibility of him going to a facility that would have more opportunities for him as an inmate to improve himself,” said Robert Biddle.
Those are opportunities Dottie Atkinson doesn’t want to see.
“He has admitted that he killed my son. It’s not a case of doubt,” she said.
And she wants him to pay with his life.
The Wicomico State’s Attorney’s Office has accused the attorney general’s office of letting the victim’s family down, releasing a statement Thursday afternoon.
In the release, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matthew A. Maciarello urges Gansler to reconsider his position and urges Gov. Martin O’Malley to commute the death sentence in the case.
Maciarello also questions Gansler’s timing.
“The fact that this move would be put into action one day after the election gives the appearance that the state is playing a political game that places politics above the interests of people who have experienced an incalculable loss,” the release states.
Both the attorney general and defense attorneys for Miles will argue the case in front of the appellate court on Dec. 8.
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