“Kelley’s Law” Calls For Mandatory Life Sentences In Restraining Order Murder Cases


Kelley Rutledge Johnston

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Life without parole for those who ignore restraining orders to commit murder. One state lawmaker says it’s time to make that penalty a reality in Alabama.

Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Arab) recently prefiled Senate Bill 2, better known as “Kelley’s Law”, for the upcoming legislative session in Montgomery. If passed, it would make a life without parole sentence mandatory for anyone who defies a restraining order to kill their intended victim.

Sen. Scofield’s bill is named in honor of fellow Arab native Kelley Rutledge Johnston, who was beaten and murdered by her estranged husband in 2000. A judge had issued a restraining order against David Johnston just weeks before he killed his wife. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but with the possibility of parole. Johnson’s next parole hearing is scheduled for July 2015.

“I remember Kelley’s story, and what happened,” said Scofield. “It’s unbelievable to me, unfathomable to me, that someone so vicious, that did something so horrendous, is going to be up for parole once again…The family is still trying to go on with their lives, and the last thing that they need is for that individual to be back out on the streets…that individual who intends to harm someone else so brutally never needs to walk freely again in this state.”

A similar version of Kelley’s Law passed in the Alabama Senate earlier this year, but later died in the House. Sen. Scofield said the legislation simply could not beat the last-minute rush on the final day, but felt confident it would make it through the next legislative session that convenes in February.

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