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Death-penalty repeal survives 8 amendment attempts, with more to come

ANNAPOLIS — The Senate turned away eight amendments to legislation that would repeal the death penalty in Maryland, but the debate will continue Tuesday morning.

Lawmakers debated changes to the repeal bill, which was introduced at the start of this General Assembly session by Gov. Martin O’Malley, for more than two hours, well into the night Monday.

Republican senators offered amendments that would keep capital punishment as an option in some situations authorized under current law. For each scenario, senators provided real-life situations in which the death penalty was — or could have been — used, often discussing each case in graphic detail.

“I don’t want to get drawn into statistics,” said Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore. “I want to keep talking about the individuals.”

But ultimately, repeal advocates easily turned back amendments that would have allowed the death penalty to be administered in the case of cop killers, killers who were already in prison, kidnappers, mass murderers and contract killers.

“It’s not stopping these murders,” said Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, D-Montgomery.

The Senate is scheduled to resume debate on the bill at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert and Prince George’s, said he wasn’t sure when a final vote on Senate Bill 276 would come, but that the legislation would pass — to the chagrin of some.

“There are truly monsters amongst us,” said Sen. David R. Brinkley, R-Carroll and Frederick. “It is the state’s responsibility to make sure those individuals don’t again walk among us.”