PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A bill considered by Rhode Island lawmakers Tuesday looks to alter the most severe punishment for any crime in the state.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jay Edwards, would prevent a judge from sentencing a defendant to life without the possibility of parole for serious violent crimes, such as first-degree murder, murder of a kidnapped child, and carjacking resulting in murder.
It has caused a lot of controversy over the past several months with lawmakers and victims’ families.
Edwards told 12 News the sentence is “basically the second death penalty.”
The bill would also give certain inmates already serving life sentences a chance at release after 25 years served.
The family of a 16-year-old girl who was stabbed, raped and left to be found by her mother, say the thought of her killer being let out of prison is disturbing.
“You find ways to cope and go through everyday life, but you never forget. You know I have family members who are still in counseling that have been in counseling since the first day,” Dawn Keys said. “Her younger sister can’t even come to Rhode Island without having nightmares of the fact that he could get out and find her.”