Maryland state senators have given preliminary approval to a bill that would repeal the state's death penalty, rejecting several amendments to maintain capital punishment in cases of heinous crime.
The Senate is expected to vote on the measure Wednesday.
The amendments defeated on the Senate floor Tuesday would have maintained the death penalty for individuals who hire contract killers, for prisoners who commit murder while serving out sentences of death or life without parole, and for criminals who murder teachers or students on the grounds of a school or day-care facility.
Senators also rejected an amendment introduced by State Sen. David Brinkley, R-Carroll County, which would ban capital punishment once Gov. Martin O'Malley changed the sentences of the five inmates already on death row to life without parole.