Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) said Wednesday night that he plans to vote in favor of repealing Maryland’s death penalty, which means the measure now has the support of a majority of members on a key committee.
Repeal legislation has died in recent years in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which is scheduled to vote Thursday on the latest version of the bill sponsored by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). A majority vote by the committee would allow the bill to move to the full Senate, where there appears to be enough votes for passage.
Zirkin has agonized over how to vote, and he said in an interview Wednesday night that he remains “very torn.” But he said he had managed to separate his emotional response to people who commit heinous murders from his legal analysis of the issue.
“From an emotional standpoint, I want to kill these people myself,” Zirkin said. “But that’s a different question than whether, legally, the state should be involved in their death.”