State leaders, family push for Melissa's Bill to pass
BOSTON (WHDH) -- A proposed Massachusetts law, known as Melissa’s Bill, that would keep repeat offenders from getting an early release, is getting support from state leaders.
On Wednesday, state leaders and the family of the girl the law is named after were on hand at a news conference to push for it to pass.
“Stripped, raped, and stabbed by a person who had 27 convictions. Why?” Les Gosule said.
An emotional Les Gosule recounted the horrific rape and murder of his daughter Melissa by a repeat offender in 1999.
Thirteen years later, Gosule stood with state officials and law enforcement officers at the Garden of Peace, a memorial for victims of repeat offenders, pleading for the passage of the habitual offender's bill, also known as Melissa's Bill, which includes a ban on parole for three-time violent offenders.
“If we allow a rapist to continue their issue, they will rape again. A person who commits murder, if we don’t do something, will murder again.
“They’re not something that would affect someone who makes a mistake in their life. We’re talking about folks who again, and again, and again, commit violent acts against the citizens of the commonwealth,” said State Sen. Bruce Tarr, Minority leader.
The Woburn Police Chief spoke for Woburn police officer Jack McGuire who was slain in 2010 by a man who was on parole after being given three life sentences.
“Please, get this bill forward so that my guys can go to work feeling a little bit safer,” said Chief Robert Ferullo, Woburn Police Department.
Melissa's Bill has languished for years. Critics who have referred to it as the three strikes and you’re out bill, say it is overly broad and would increase prison overcrowding.
But Les Gosule, who knelt at his daughter's stone in the Peace Garden, says after getting promises from politicians for 13 years, the time has come for action.
“We can’t stop all crime but we should be able to stop the crime that’s habitual,” Gosule said.
Melissa’s Bill is currently awaiting action in a conference committee.
Gosule is calling on the legislature to vote on the bill before the end of the session which is July 31.