State senator pushing law named after Baby Maddox

State Senator John DeFrancisco says there's really no other way to feel.

The number of children killed by a parent or someone close in the last year is not only heartbreaking, but it's alarming.

"It's not just one horrible case that you hear about. It seems like it's happening more and more and more," said DeFrancisco (R - Syracuse).

Last year, after Ryan Lawrence, the father of Baby Maddox, was arrested for her murder, DeFrancisco co-sponsored a bill named after Maddox. "Maddox's Law" would make the intentional killing of any child under the age of 13 punishable by a first-degree murder charge.

And while DeFrancisco understands no law will ever act as a sure deterrent, what that would guarantee makes the effort worthwhile: life in prison with no chance of parole.

"There are people who have committed homicides who are on the streets now on parole," DeFrancisco said. "It might not deter some people from some type of activity, but on the other hand, it certainly keeps them off the streets to commit further crimes in the future."

The bill passed through the State Senate with no opposition last year, but it never made it to the Assembly floor for a vote. The exact same thing happened this year.

DeFrancisco wants answers.

"If this got on the floor for a vote, people would be hard pressed, no matter political persuasion, to not vote yes," he said. "They're going to vote yes, just like in the Senate."

But one Assembly member tells Spectrum News the bill is flawed. Bill Magnarelli says there's two reasons it hasn't been voted on.

First, he wonders why anyone would consider one age more important than another. Secondly, he says the focus needs to be on mental health, and the Assembly feels that's the way to really getting to the bottom of this problem.

Spectrum customers get full access
to all our video, including our live stream.