Advocates hope death penalty repeal makes Maryland legislative agenda
On a cold, wet day in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, Kirk Bloodsworth remembers sitting in a prison cell while serving time for a murder he didn't commit.
"It's the most awful feeling you've ever felt in your life and especially when you have no reason to be there," Bloodsworth said.
Everyday could have been his last.
"I had no idea when I was going to die and when I wasn't," he continued.
In 1984, Bloodsworth was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old Maryland girl. After nine years in prison, he became the first man in the nation to be exonerated by DNA evidence.
He now works with advocate Jane Henderson and the Maryland Citizens Against State Executions. Henderson is working with state lawmakers to bring forth a bill to repeal Maryland's death penalty.
With fewer measures on the ballot, such as gambling and same sex marriage, she hopes her measure will get more attention.
"We believe if we can get a vote on this bill, it will pass, and Maryland will be the next state to repeal the death penalty," Henderson said.
But Senator Brian Frosh, (D) - Montgomery County, Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, says that's not likely.
Similar bills have failed to reach a vote in the past after stalling in committee.
Frosh explained, "It's life and death, and people have strong views on that..."
The fate of a repeal remains unclear, but Bloodsworth says protecting even one innocent life is worth the fight.
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