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California dodges a financial bullet for negligence in teen’s murder

As Chelsea King’s parents face the grim anniversary of their daughter death, their decision to not to sue the state saves Sacramento millions of dollars. King was brutally raped and murdered by a repeat sex offender in February of last year.

The search and eventual discovery of the high school senior made national headlines that sparked a debate about the seriousness of child sex predators- something that led California to pass the nation’s toughest sexual offender punishment with Chelsea’s Law.

King’s parents announced they will not sue the state of California for their daughter’s rape and murder by a parole-violating sex offender.

“There’s nothing that will bring your daughter back,” Brent King said at a press conference in San Diego.

Under the law, families can sue states if they feel law enforcement was partly responsible for heinous crimes. However, the King family chose not to go through the lengthy and painful legal battle.

“A trial would remind us of the pain and tragedy of the murder,” King said. Instead the family will continue to strengthen the penalties associated with sexual offenders in every state.

“If we were to sue and receive any (money), would (any) change actually occur because of that?” they asked rhetorically. “Wouldn’t it be better to actually change the system?”

Once the murder of their daughter was solved the Kings’ spearheaded efforts to pass Chelsea’s Law in August of last year. The bill was named after their daughter and authored by San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

The new law mandates a compulsory life sentence without the possibility of parole for forcible sex acts against minors. Chelsea’s law toughens sexual offense parole guidelines and requires the lifelong tracking of certain sex predators.

“We have a responsibility in our minds to other parents, to children, to the 36,000 Californians that signed to support Chelsea’s Law through the petitions that we asked them to sign, to make sure Chelsea’s Law doesn’t just become another law that doesn’t get enforced,” Brent King said.

Kelly King, Chelsea’s mother, said their priority was to look after Tyler their teenage son, second is “to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen to our kids (ever again).”

Chelsea King’s murder in February of last year shocked San Diego when a 30-year-old registered sex offender John Gardner confessed to killing her.

Gardner plead guilty to the crime and saved the county a costly and lengthy trial. In return for the plea agreement, Gardner confessed to the murder of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and told authorities where the teenager was buried in February of 2009. In return the District Attorney’s office took the death penalty off the table.

Gardner has since been interviewed and said, “If I’m ever released I’ll kill again.”

Gardner was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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