Father talks about law named after daughter - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Father talks about law named after daughter

It wasn't Kelley's Law's first go through the state legislature, but it finally passed earlier in the week. It wasn't Kelley's Law's first go through the state legislature, but it finally passed earlier in the week.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Daniel Rutledge spoke fondly of his little girl Kelley, hoping her story can help protect others. Kelley Johnson was murdered by her husband David in 2000 as he was under a restraining order to stay away from her.

"He wound up killing her while the restraining order was in effect, when he should have really been in jail because it violated it again," said Rutledge.

Under "Kelley's Law," passed by the state legislature earlier in the week, a murder committed as someone's violating a restraining order becomes capital murder. Meaning a mandatory life sentence. Rutledge said it's a relief to see restraining orders get some teeth, so other families wouldn't have to go through what hid did as Kelley's killer repeatedly came up for parole.

"Hopefully the person that takes the restraining order out benefits the most, because hopefully because of the penalty involved in it now, the person the restraining order is against will have a little more respect for it, and maybe prevent this from happening," Rutledge continued. "In our case we wouldn't have to be worried about what's going to happen next year, or year after, or whatever as far as the person that did this getting out."

It wasn't Kelley's Law's first go through the state legislature, but it finally passed earlier in the week. Rutledge said he and his family had been advocating it for years, always looking back on Kelley' story and wondering.

"In her time, I have no way of knowing if it would have done anything, but it could have," Rutledge said, "and the possibility of it maybe having done something different to have prevented it from happening would be a big improvement over what happened."

Rutledge said he also hopes to see more similar legislation like Kelley's Law, perhaps a bill that provides tougher penalties for violating restraining orders before someone gets killed in the interest of making people take restraining orders more seriously, and maybe prevent tragedies like Kelley's.

"A lot of people get restraining orders, but very little is done to keep them safe after they get them, and I think this law will go a long way in making that happen," Rutledge said.

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