Capital murder trial starts for inmate charged in officer’s death

ANNAPOLIS — A trial that could test recent changes to Maryland’s death penalty law is set to begin.

Opening statements in the trial of Lee Edward Stephens, one of two prisoners charged with stabbing corrections officer David McGuinn to death in 2006, are scheduled to take place Wednesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

The slaying was a primary factor in the decision to close the Maryland House of Correction.

This is the first death penalty case to go to trial since Maryland’s death penalty law was changed. The law now reserves capital punishment for murders in which there is a videotaped confession or biological evidence linking the defendant to the crime.

No trial date has been set for prisoner Lamar Harris, whose mental fitness to stand trial is in question.

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