Governor wants death penalty for accomplices in police killings Glendening says he'll offer legislation next year

September 28, 1996|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced yesterday that he will seek a change in state law to allow prosecutors to bring death-penalty cases against accomplices in the murder of police officers -- even if they didn't actually commit the killing.

Speaking at an Inner Harbor gun-control rally, Glendening said closing the "loophole" would send a message to drug dealers.

"Criminals selling drugs on our streets need to know that even if they don't pull the trigger, they can be tried for murder and be sentenced to death," he said.

The governor said he will include the legislation in his package of bills to be introduced in the General Assembly next year.

Glendening said the proposed change in state law was sparked by the killing of state police Tfc. Edward A. Plank Jr. on the Eastern Shore in October.

State prosecutors won the death penalty against the trigger man in the killing, Ivan Fitzherbert Lovell. But under state law, prosecutors could not have brought a death-penalty case against his accomplice and cousin, William Smith Lynch, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

As part of a plea bargain with Lovell, state prosecutors dropped their case against Lynch. But federal prosecutors filed drug and murder charges against Lynch -- charges that could have carried the death penalty. As part of a plea bargain, Lynch was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison with no chance for parole.

Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which would consider such a bill, said he expects many legislators would support the idea. Noting that he hadn't seen the actual legislation, Vallario, a Democrat from Prince George's County, said he could foresee constitutional questions being raised about the proposal.

Pub Date: 9/28/96

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