Hartford Country Republican Senator Robert G. Cassilly would like to see lethal injection used for crimes such as serial murders, murders of witnesses or law enforcement officials, murders that take place during a sex offense or hate crime, and killing two or more people in a single incident.
He expressed his intention to ask the Maryland General Assembly to restore capital punishment during the legislative session next year; it was repealed in 2013 during the administration of Governor Martin O’Malley. The last execution in the state took place back in 1993.
His comments came just five days after a Maryland business park shooting saw three deaths and two injuries. The victims had been gunned down by a co-worker at the Advanced Granite Solutions office in Edgewood. The suspect then allegedly drove to Delaware, where he shot another individual. Radee Prince is being held on $2.1 million bond. He faces life in prison without parole for several first-degree murder charges.
Cassilly said: "There's got to be a penalty that says, 'Look, you've killed; now it can actually get a whole lot worse from this [if you re-offend] because we will hold your life over your head."
He came up with the idea of using heroin and fentanyl in order to counter an argument commonly used by lethal injection opponents – that the process is painful.
"What we've seen is a mix of heroin and fentanyl obviously must not be too painful," he said, "because we see people pumped up with [the antidote] Narcan on the verge of death, probably practically dead...they turn back around and they want to do [heroin and fentanyl] again."
Senator Cassilly’s brother is State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly, who believes that choosing these substances for lethal injections would also send a message to the population about just how deadly a combination it is and hopefully help deter people from taking these drugs and becoming yet another tragic statistic.
Opioids inhibit respiration by blocking the brain from signaling to the body to breathe; those who take higher doses of it essentially forget how to breathe. At 100 times stronger than heroin, just a few grains of fentanyl can kill somebody, and the growing trend of heroin laced with fentanyl has been a key driver of the opioid crisis in the U.S.
Last month, Nevada announced plans of its own to use fentanyl in lethal injections. Murderer Scott Raymond Dosier is set to be injected with fentanyl, Valium, and the muscle relaxant cisatracurium, which is related to curare. The injection will take place next month in what will be the state’s first execution in more than a decade.
States that have the death penalty have been having trouble sourcing drugs for executions in recent years, prompting them to turn to new combinations. Many pharmaceutical makers are opposed to having their drugs associated with executions due to concerns about their reputation – nevermind the fact that their drugs kill countless innocent people each year.