|Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley greets former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) at New York University in New York, February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
The Maryland House of Delegates voted on Friday to overturn the state’s death penalty, putting it a step closer to becoming the 18th U.S. state to abolish executions.
By a vote of 82 to 56, the House agreed to replace capital punishment with a sentence of life without parole. It approved the measure a week after the Senate passed the bill.
Governor Martin O’Malley, who has pledged to sign the bill into law, will decide the fate of the five men currently on Maryland’s death row.
The bill was O’Malley’s second attempt to overturn capital punishment since 2009. When he introduced the legislation in January, he said the death penalty was expensive and did not work.
“Year after year, states which have a death penalty have actually had a higher murder rate than states which do not have a death penalty,” he said.