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Maryland OKs death penalty repeal

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The Maryland House of Delegates voted Friday to repeal the state's death penalty, sending the proposal to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who plans to sign it into law and make Maryland the 18th state to abolish capital punishment.

House members voted 82-56 in favor of the bill after hours of debate on Wednesday and Friday afternoon. The proposal passed the Senate earlier this month.

Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, plans to sign it after the General Assembly's scheduled adjournment on April 9, according to a staff member.

Delegates gave their final arguments on Friday with repeal supporters arguing that capital punishment presents the unacceptable possibility of excusing an innocent person, and opponents contending that execution should remain an option for the most heinous of crimes.

Maryland has five inmates on death row and has not executed a person since 2005.

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