Acting on the last full day of his tenure, outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Tuesday formally commuted the sentences of Maryland’s four remaining death-row inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The move followed through on an announcement that O’Malley made late last month about his intentions. The outgoing governor, a longtime foe of capital punishment, successfully lobbied the legislature in 2013 to remove capital punishment as an option for crimes committed after that.
In executive orders issued Tuesday, O’Malley said that his intention was that each previously sentenced death-row inmate “serve the remainder of his natural life in prison.”
Commutations were granted to Vernon Evans, Anthony Grandison, Jody Lee Miles and Heath Burch.
In a court filing Tuesday, lawyers for Miles said he opposed O’Malley’s action. Miles is seeking to have an appeals court re-sentence him to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Miles was convicted in the 1997 robbery and murder of a musical-theater director in Wicomico County.
After serving eight years as governor, O’Malley is set to step down at noon on Wednesday and be replaced by Republican businessman Larry Hogan.