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Serafini's death penalty amendment fails

March 26, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Md. House OKs death penalty restrictions; bill goes to O'Malley

ANNAPOLIS -- Del. Andrew A. Serafini offered an amendment to the death penalty bill Thursday that would have allowed those who kill correctional officers to be sentenced to death.

The amendment was defeated 75-61, but received the most support of any of the amendments offered Thursday. All five delegates representing Washington County supported the measure.

Serafini, R-Washington, said he offered the amendment because without it, there is little to deter an inmate serving a life sentence to continue killing while in prison.

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His amendment is similar to one offered by Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, when the Senate was considering the death penalty. It also was defeated.

The death penalty bill passed Thursday by the House would limit the death penalty to cases where there is DNA evidence, biological evidence or a videotaped confession. Serafini's amendment would have allowed those who murder a correctional officer to also be eligible for the death penalty, even without the evidence that otherwise would be required.

"No one relishes the idea of the death penalty," Serafini said. "Nobody is excited (by this). I think there are times when it can be a deterrent. We have to protect those who are the most vulnerable."

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