Convicted Killer Jody Lee Miles Has Death Sentence Commuted - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Convicted Killer Jody Lee Miles Has Death Sentence Commuted

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WICOMICO COUNTY, Md.- After sitting on death row in Maryland for about 17 years, Jody Lee Miles will not face the death penalty for the 1997 murder of Edward Atkinson in Wicomico County. His death sentence has been commuted by Gov. O'Malley and Miles now faces life behind bars without the possibility of parole. 

Miles was convicted of murder in 1998.  The jury found him guilty of killing Atkinson in 1997 off Old Bradley Road near Mardela Springs.  However, in 2013, the death penalty was repealed in Maryland making it impossible for Miles to be put to death.

It was in November when Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler said Miles could not be put to death and argued for a new sentence.

"The court of special appeals should remand this sentence, or impose the sentence of life without the possibility of parole on Mr. Miles," said Gansler back on Nov. 6.

However, Wicomico County State's Attorney Matt Maciarello said leaving the sentencing up to the courts would open the door to for more appeals by Miles and years of legal proceedings in the courtroom.  That outcome, according to Maciarello, is the last thing the Atkinson family wanted.

"They asked the governor to please give them the greatest sense of closure and finality and commute that sentence," Maciarello said. "And they asked him that personally in a meeting that took place at their home.  The governor actually came to their house."

Maciarello added that with the death penalty no longer an option, Miles' new sentence is the best alternative.

"Jody Lee Miles deserves the death penalty," Maciarello said. "He is a cold-blooded killer but that's not going to happen in the State of Maryland at this time.  So the best alternative is closure for the family."

The three other men on death row also had their sentences commuted to life without the possibility of parole.  Vernon Lee Evans and Anthony Grandison were convicted together in 1984 on murder charges in Baltimore County.  And Heath William Burch was sentenced to death in 1996 on a double murder charge in Prince George's County.

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