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News Scan

MT Upholds Death Penalty:  The Billings Gazette reports that Montana's House Judiciary committee rejected HB 370, a proposal to ban the death penalty on Friday. Backers are expected to seek debate on the House floor. Another bill trying to end the state's death penalty failed in the same committee two years ago.

MD Death Penalty Repeal Faces Senate Vote:  Michael Dresser and Erin Cox of the Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's SB 150 to repeal the state's death penalty has passed 6-5 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee. The state carried out its last execution in 2005. It currently has five convicted murderers on death row. According to a recent poll, MD voters favor the death penalty. Of those surveyed, 48 percent oppose repeal, while 42 percent are in favor. The bill is expected to pass when it is brought to the Senate floor next week.

GA Executes Double-Killer, Without a Prescription:  Rhonda Cook of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that convicted killer Andrew Cook was executed in Georgia on Thursday, after his appeal that he needed a doctor's prescription to be executed, was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. He was pronounced dead at 11:22 p.m. The story is further discussed in this News Scan.

TX Executes Man Who Burned Ex-Girlfriend:  Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press reports that Carl Blue was executed Thursday in Texas after the Supreme Court rejected his last appeal. Blue, 48, set his ex-girlfriend, Carmen Richards-Sanders, on fire after throwing gasoline on her at her apartment in September, 1994. He also burned a man, Larence Williams, who was with her at the apartment. Williams survived the attack and later testified. Blue's execution is the first in TX this year.

CA Continues Moving Prisoners Out of High-Security Units:  Paige St. John of the Los Angeles Times reports that California prison officials are moving more prisoners out of secure housing units. The state began a trial program that allows prisoners to leave the units after four years. Spokeswoman Terry Thornton said the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has reviewed 144 high-security inmates allegedly associated with prison gangs. Of those, 78 were released into the general prison system, and 52 were placed in the trial program. Seven of the inmates have been retained over concerns for their safety. An additional 10 have agreed to provide gang activity information to investigators.

CA Killer Put on Death Row For Second Inmate Murder:  Jennie Rodriguez-Moore of the Record reports that John Joseph Lydon, convicted of killing two inmates while serving a sentence for a robbery/murder, has been sentenced to death. Lydon joins approximately 725 other inmates on death row in California where no executions have been carried out since 2006. Continued from this News Scan.

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