MARYLAND: GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY COMMUTES FOUR DEATH SENTENCES
December 31, 2014: Governor Martin O'Malley commuted the death sentences of the last 4 inmates remaining on death row, effectively ending capital punishment in the state.
Maryland lawmakers voted 2 years ago to abolish the death sentence for future offenders beginning 2013. O'Malley said that leaving the last 4 prisoners to await the death penalty "does not serve the public good." "In a representative government, state executions make every citizen a party to a legalized killing as punishment," he said in a statement.
The 4 prisoners ‚Äď Vernon Evans, Anthony Grandison, Jody Lee Miles and Heath William Burch ‚Äď had their sentences commuted by gubernatorial order to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Opponents of capital punishment applauded O'Malley's move ‚Äď which came just weeks before he leaves office after 2 terms as Maryland's governor. A family member of two victims told the Baltimore Sun newspaper she was "devastated" to learn that Heath Williams Burch's sentence had been commuted. Burch was convicted of the 1995 murders of Robert Davis, 70, and Cleo Davis, 77, the newspaper said. The Davises' daughter, Mary Moore, said she had asked the governor 3 times not to remove Burch from death row. "He'll have a life, and I don't think he should," she said. (Sources: The Virginia Gazette, 31/12/2014)