Legislature Approves ‘Kelley’s Law’, Named After Marshall County Murder Victim

Northeast Alabama

Kelley Rutledge Johnston

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – A bill named in honor of a Marshall County woman murdered by her estranged husband has passed the full legislature.

‘Kelley’s Law’ now awaits the signature of Governor Robert Bentley. The proposal passed the Alabama House of Representatives on Wednesday evening, after also passing the Senate.

Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Red Hill) sponsored the bill, which makes it a capital offense when a murder is committed in violation of a pre-existing restraining order.

It is named after Kelley Rutledge Johnston, a Marshall County woman who was beaten and murdered by her estranged husband in 2000, just weeks after a judge issued a restraining order against him. David Johnston was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but with the possibility of parole. His next parole hearing is scheduled for July 2015.

Scofield has sponsored the legislation for the past four years. He said the bill’s main intent is helping address domestic violence issues.

“If someone has a protection order taken out against someone, they clearly feel threatened,” Scofield said. “With this legislation we are sending a strong message that if you violate that court order and commit murder, you will spend the rest of your life in prison. There is nothing we can do to bring back a lost life, but we can ensure that justice is served. A victim’s family also deserves to have the peace of mind knowing these criminals will never again have the opportunity to inflict more harm.”

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