MoCo Delegate's Emotional Appeal on Death Penalty
Del. Craig L. Rice (D-Montgomery), who this week shared the story of his murdered aunt and cousin with senators in an emailed plea for them to retain the death penalty in Maryland, said today that his story seems to be influencing colleagues. Rice said he is not convinced that a majority of the House of Delegates supports repeal, as has always been assumed.
Our colleague Marc Fisher filed a column this morning on Rice's family tragedy and his views on the death penalty.
In 1993, Rice's aunt, her quadriplegic son and his son's full-time nurse were killed in their Wheaton home. Their bodies were discovered by Rice's mother. Investigators eventually learned that the aunt's ex-husband had hired a hit man to kill the group, in hopes of inheriting money from a legal settlement related to his son's disability.
On Monday, just before Senators were set to have an emotional floor debate on the death penalty, Rice blast emailed senators with his story. The email concluded in capital letters, "PLEASE DO NOT REPEAL THE DEATH PENALTY."
"I've been hearing from a lot of senators who have said the letter gave them some different insight on the issue," Rice said today. "That was my objective, to make sure they were looking at it from all sides."
"It's not about vengeance," he said of his belief that the death penalty should be an option in the most egregious crimes. "It's about security and safety. It's about the peacefulness that comes from knowing this is a person who is not be able to do harm to anyone else, not a fellow inmate or a guard or even someone else if they escaped."
Rice said he supports the measure that ultimately emerged from the Senate, which would keep the death penalty but limit its use by raising the evidence standards needed to impose it.
But he said he knows some fellow delegates will push for a full repeal. He said he is uncertain whether that notion is as popular as long assumed in the House.
"I will continue to tell my story," he said. "As a result of it, there are a lot of people who have shared personal experiences of their own and have expressed support.
The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz also had a profile of Rice today.
March 6, 2009; 11:51 AM ET
Categories: General Assembly , Montgomery County , Rosalind Helderman
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