Eastern Shore Man Escaping Death Row - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Eastern Shore Man Escaping Death Row

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WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. - Jody Lee Miles has been on death row in Maryland since 1998 for the murder of Edward Atkinson in Wicomico County in 1997.  But Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler announced Miles will be coming off death row and will be facing a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Miles, of Greensboro, was convicted in March of 1998 for the murder of Edward Atkinson off Old Bradley Road near Mardela Springs.  He was sentenced to death a few days later.

"It is a violation of Mr. Miles due process to remain on death row and we are going to be agreeing with the defense in this case and stipulating with the defense that the court of special appeals should impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole," said Gansler on Thursday.

Gansler argues because the state of Maryland repealed the death penalty in 2013, there is no legal way Miles could be put to death.  However, Wicomico County State's Attorney Matt Maciarello said Thursday, when the repeal was enacted, it did not impact the handful of people already facing the death sentence - including Miles.

Edward Atkinson's mother, Dottie, said the man who took her son's life does not deserve a lesser sentence.

"He has admitted that he killed my son.  It's not a case where this is a doubt.  There is not a shadow of a doubt, he's admitted to it."

And Mrs. Atkinson is not alone in her belief.  Maciarello said time after time, appeal after appeal, Miles' death sentence was upheld, until now.  Maciarello added Gansler made him aware of his intention to change Miles' sentence on Wednesday.

"The fact that this move would be put into action, one day after the election, a historic election, gives the appearance that the state is playing a political game that places politics over the interests of people who have experienced an incalculable loss."

But Gansler said the law is the law and Miles will remain alive.  Maciarello said if Gansler does not change his mind, he would like Governor O'Malley to commute the sentence, meaning O'Malley use his executive power to give Miles the sentence of life without the possibility of parole and not allow for the sentence to be appealed.
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