A Montgomery County senator whose vote death penalty opponents had hoped to sway this year said Friday that he is firmly committed to keeping capital punishment on the books.

Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat, said his position has not changed since 2009, when he supported a compromise that narrowed the circumstances in which the death penalty could be applied but fell short of full repeal.

Garagiola is the lone senator from Montgomery County who supports retention of the death penalty. Repeal proponents had expressed hope he might be open to reconsidering the issue, but he said he believes death should still be an option for particularly heinous murders.

With his vote unavailable, the path to the minimum 24 votes to pass a bill becomes a bit narrower. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a death penalty supporter, has said he will allow a floor vote if Gov. Martin O'Malley, an opponent, can show  him he has a majority of the votes in that chamber.

In past years, the legislation has remained bottled up in committee though opponents have insisted thay could have won on the floor.