SB 2732 aims to prevent re-offenses and inform victims.
Last August, Lenora Edhegard was murdered in her home by a repeat sex offender. Senator Will Longwitz (R-Madison) has a bill currently being considered by the Mississippi Senate that will allow law enforcement to keep an eye on some sex offenders around the clock. SB 2732 comes before the Senate Judiciary A Committee this Tuesday morning at 9:00AM.
Lenora Edhegard did not know that a convicted sex offender, Cortrell Rose, was living in the apartment next to hers. Although state law required Rose to put his home address on a sex offender registry, he was registered at a false address in Hinds County. Neither the victim nor law enforcement had any way of knowing he was there.
State Senator Will Longwitz says using GPS tracking technology will help enforce the sex offender registry and will keep people safe.
“We can’t leave compliance in the hands of repeat offenders anymore,” said Longwitz. “Even though everybody was doing their job, this murderer found a way to cheat the system, and a good person died. If we can make the sex offender registry work better, we can protect victims and save innocent lives.”
“This was a tragic and needless situation,” Longwitz said of Lenora Edhegard’s death.
Under current law, if a person is convicted of violating the sex offender registry, they can go to jail for up to five years. Under this bill, if they are released early, they will get a GPS ankle monitor that tracks them around-the-clock for the remainder of their sentence.
“If it were up to me, we would track every sex offender. We can’t,” Longwitz said. “But we can use GPS technology to put real teeth in our sex offender registry. If they decide to lie and live somewhere other than their registered address, we will convict them then monitor their every move.” At least sixteen other states use similar monitoring.
The bill also improves the system that notifies people of a sex offender’s presence in their area. Local governments will use email, social media and other electronic communication to inform their citizens when a sex offender has moved in. In addition, former victims and their families can get an alert when the offender is in their vicinity.
The bill was authored by Longwitz, and is co-authored by Senators Josh Harkins (Brandon), Sally Doty (Brookhaven) and Brice Wiggins (Ocean Springs), all Republicans.