Lawmakers Vote to Repeal Death Penalty in Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawmakers Vote to Repeal Death Penalty in Maryland

HEBRON, Md.-The death penalty debate is over in Maryland. The bill now awaits Governor Martin O'Malley's signature which will make Maryland one of 18 states to get rid of capital punishment.

The vote on Friday afternoon in the House of Delegates was 82 to 56. 

Democratic Delegate Rudy Cane of Wicomico County was the only Eastern Shore lawmaker to support the repeal.

Some people told WBOC that they believe in 'eye for an eye' while others said that capital punishment is not always the answer.

For Lois Burton however, it's been 23 years since she lost her son Greg Taylor at the hands of a stranger named John Thanos.
"The state police told us that they found his body and that he was dead," Burton recalled.

Taylor was only 18-years-old when back in 1990 he offered Thanos a ride while he was hitch-hiking to Ocean City but little did he know that Thanos was going to kill him.

"Your life completely changes," Burton said, "and you just have to go through your life and figure out how you can live." 

Taylor wasn't the only victim as Thanos then went to Baltimore and killed two more teens.

Four years later, he was executed for the murders.

"I don't believe any part of the death penalty is inhumane," Burton said, "my son was held at gun point by John Thanos for over an hour." 

Even though Burton said she supports the punishment for her own obvious reasons, the state made the ultimate decision to do away with it. It's a move that some people besides Burton said is the wrong one.

"I am just a very big proponent for an eye for an eye," said Andrea Ward, "I think if you have done something bad enough to deserve the death penalty then it's a good thing to have around ."

Others like George Gering said the state made a decision that should have been done a long time ago.

"I am always concerned that regardless of the circumstances somebody who's innocent will be pronounced guilty," Gering said, " I am against it for the simple reason that there is too much of a possibility for eager prosecutors to seek the death penalty when it's not really called for."  

Burton said  that Thanos' execution is no way a replacement for her suffering but doing away with the punishment puts criminals like him in the face of families who maybe going through the same pain as her.     

"If someone has not been through the death of a loved one then they can't understand what it's like to sit here on the other side of the lawmakers who make all these decisions and choices for us. It's my tax paying dollars that is keeping these criminals in jail," she said.

Under the bill, life without the possibility of parole would be the most severe sentence.


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