Ministers call for a repeal of the death penalty

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Religious leaders from across the state are urging lawmakers to repeal Maryland's death penalty.

The diverse group of ministers met in Annapolis on Wednesday to denounce the practice.

Maryland's last execution occurred in 2005, when death row inmate Wesley Eugene Baker was put to death under former Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

Since 1976, Maryland has executed five people and five more remain on death row.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, who opposes capital punishment, pushed for repeal in 2009. The Democratic governor has said that he believes the General Assembly has the will to ban capital punishment this session.

Faith leaders say the death penalty should be repealed on the grounds that it is immoral, costly and has been proven to be a poor deterrent for heinous crimes.