“I always try to tell her (Destiny) that if you can go through what you went through, I can do this for you and for other people,” Shepherd said.
Both bills are currently going through multiple hearings and are being spearheaded by state legislators who represent Springfield, Rep. Kyle Koehler and Sen. Bob Hackett.
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Koehler, who first heard of Destiny’s story back in 2014 when running for office, says that it is difficult for perpetrators who cause permanent harm to their victims to receive proper justice under current assault laws.
“In the case of shaken baby syndrome or in the case of Destiny, the perpetrator was not trying to kill the child, but what resulted was something horrific,” Koehler said. “Prosecutors are locked into a certain sentencing structure if they can’t prove pre-mediated murder.”
Shepherd testified for both bills on Feb. 21, appearing in front of the House Criminal Justice Committee during proponent testimony and at a Senate opponent testimony later that day.
Opponents of both bills have stated that the legislation should not pass, claiming that it can contribute to prison overcrowding and that it could cost the state too much money.
“It makes me feel pretty sad that it’s all about money and not someone else’s life,” Shepherd said.
Koehler has stated that he hopes that both bills move as quickly as possible but also said that this can be a long process and can take more than six months to be completed.