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Md. lawmakers vote to repeal death penalty

Saturday - 3/16/2013, 2:16am  ET

AP: 4989f135-6fb2-40df-9b03-7ce0a1a962cc
Anti-death penalty advocates Sylvester Schieber, left, his wife, Vicki, center, Kirk Bloodsworth, the first American sentenced to death row who was exonerated by DNA, and NAACP President Ben Jealous, right, react after watching the Maryland General Assembly approve a measure to ban capital punishment in Annapolis, Md., Friday, March 15, 2013. The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign it. Maryland would become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Death penalty repealed after hours of emotional testimony

WTOP's Kate Ryan reports from Annapolis

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Reactions from Maryland's repeal of the death penalty

Kate Ryan, WTOP

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Maryland General Assembly has approved a measure to ban capital punishment.

The House of Delegates voted 82 to 56 on Friday to pass a bill already approved by the Senate.

That sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign it.

Maryland would become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.

Supporters of repeal argue that capital punishment is costly, error-prone, racially biased and a poor deterrent. Opponents say it's a necessary tool to punish those who commit the most egregious crimes.

Maryland has five men on death row, though the measure approved Friday makes it clear the governor can commute their sentences to life in prison. The state's last execution took place in 2005, during the administration of Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

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