Bill to help inform family of crime victims passes Kentucky Senate
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - "I can barely get out of bed sometimes," Misty Tweedy said sitting on her dimly lit living room.
"I don't go see my friends, I don't go see my family that much."
There are three people in the room, but the presence of her son Jericho Moore lingers. His photos, his ashes in the dark brown urn, decorative stacking blocks with beautiful calligraphy arranged to spell "JERICHO" all add to Moore's presence.
Seven months have gone by. Tweedy said she finds it hard to believe it has been that long since she's heard the worst words she could never think to hear.
"Your son has expired," is what one blurry authority figure at the scene of 28th and Dumesnil Streets told Tweedy that June day in 2017.
"Like he was a gallon of milk," Tweedy said. "My son was a human, my son did not deserve to be... 'He's expired.'"
Seven months have gone by since her 18-year-old son Jericho Moore left her side.
"The police officer [at the scene] knew my son personally," Tweedy said. "And I looked at him and I said, 'Is that my son?' and he said, 'I can't tell you that.'"
Tweedy shook her head. She said it took them less than 15 minutes to figure out who the victim of the homicide was. She said they knew right away it was her Jericho. However, she had to wait seven hours for the coroner to come and identify him by a single tattoo.
When she asked to see him at the scene, the coroner declined to let her do so. Tweedy said she finally laid eyes on Jericho three days later, at a funeral home.
"I have the right to see my son," Tweedy said.
Turns out, Tweedy's wait for justice was even longer than the wait she had already endured. Three or four more months went by before she heard from anyone about Jericho's alleged killer's day in court.
"They finally contacted me and said they were sorry for my loss but it was three or four months before anyone contacted me about my son being dead," Tweedy said.
Now, seven months later, Tweedy is banking on some hope coming from Frankfort.
Senate Bill 3, also known as Marsy's Law, passed the Senate committee in Frankfort on Wednesday.
Marsy's Law is named after Marsalee "Marsy" Nicholas who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in California back in 1983. A week after her murder, her mother came face-to-face with the accused killer in a grocery store. She had no idea he had been released on bail.
The law dedicates resources to keep victims of violence in the loop, informed and protected.
Kentucky currently doesn't have a law like that, leaving people like Tweedy in the dark, struggling to keep abreast of the court dockets, schedules and charges against Charles Barnes, who is charged with the murder of Jericho.
"Now it's time to stand up for the crime victims in Kentucky," Republican Senator Whitney Westerfield, from Hopkinsville, said. "It's long overdue to stand up for the crime victims in Kentucky."
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To Tweedy, Marsy's Law making it through the senate was more than just a legislative victory. She called it a voice that spoke with a tone of reassurance to victims of violence.
"[That] they matter," Tweedy said. "They matter to us, they matter to everybody else, it's a heartache but it's also a blessing once someone will sit here and listen to you."
From here, Marsy's Law or SB3 will head to the house for a vote. If it passes there, the law will actually make an appearance on the ballot come November.
Because Marsy's Law will require a change to the Kentucky constitution, voters will have a say in a matter that involves so many people.
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