Lawmaker wants tracking devices on certain sex offenders
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
When Becky Macon's sister, Lenora Edhegard was murdered inside her home last fall, little did she know at the time, the murderer lived right next door.
"He had been there two or three months and didn't present any kind of threat," said Macon.
The man who has now confessed to the crime is Cortrell Rose, a convicted sex offender, who, by law, was registered at an address in Hinds County. The problem is, he was living next door to Edhegard in Rankin County.
"What this brought to light was that there are major problems with the enforcement of our sex offender registry and with our notification system," said Senator Will Longwitz, a republican from Madison.
Longwitz is now behind a piece of legislation to make some changes. Known as Lenora's Law, the bill went before and passed through a senate committee Tuesday morning. If it becomes law, any sex offender who is convicted of not complying with the state's sex offender registry law, will be tracked with a GPS device.
"What we are simply trying to do with this bill is add modern technology to achieve the original purposes of our sex offender registry," said Longwitz.
Currently sex offenders are required to register every 90 days and if convicted of non-compliance, could be sentenced up to five years in prison, typically spending even less time actually behind bars. That's just what happened in the case of Cortrell Rose. Longwitz says the remainder of that sentence spent out of prison should be attached to an electronic lease.
"If you can't follow the sex offender registry law, then you need to be monitored," said Longwitz.
Although a reactive effort, Longwitz says Lenora's Law will be the foundation for better laws to prevent future crimes. For Edhegard's family, it's a small piece of mind for immeasurable loss.
"This may not have happened to our sister had this law been in place," said Macon.
Those tracking devices are expected to cost about $10 a day and the cost is set to be paid by the offenders. If the offenders can't pay, the state would have to pick up the tab. If signed by the governor, the law wouldn't be in effect until 2015.
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