ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (AP) -- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley says he will commute the capital sentences of the state's last four inmates on death row to life in prison.
In a statement released Wednesday, the outgoing Democratic governor says leaving the death sentences in place "does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland."
Two years ago, the state legislature abolished the death penalty, making the ultimate sentence in new cases life in prison without the possibility of parole.
That left four previously sentenced inmates on death row. The governor noted in his statement that the state's attorney general recently asserted that carrying out prior sentences would be illegal in the absence of an existing statute.