Letter to the Editor: Support legislative bill
Very soon the Utah State legislature will be meeting and one of the bills that will be introduced will be the sentencing for first degree felony murder. As you may know we were in shock and disbelief when the judge sentenced Mark to a minimum of five years to life for brutally murdering our precious Lori. The mere possibility that he could be out on the streets in five years remarrying and abusing someone else is a horrifying thought and an insult to us and other victim's families, but unfortunately that was the only option the judge had with the law as it is currently written. The parole board has since stepped up to the plate and has said that they will not grant a parole hearing for Mark for 30 years. For us, we are satisfied that Mark will spend a very long time behind bars and may stay there for life; however we are very concerned that future murderers may perceive that a minimum of five years is a small price to pay and worth the consequences.
I have spent this last year working with the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Coalition and the Utah State Sentencing Commission, and the Statewide Association of Prosecutors Legislative Action Committee to draft a bill that will increase the minimum sentence for first degree felony murder to 15 years. We feel that this will be a bigger deterrent for future murderers and may cause someone to think twice before committing such a heinous act. Also, this bill includes additional penalties for breaching a sacred trust. Although a stranger killing would be horrible enough, the person who committed this crime was the very person we trusted to protect Lori and the very person who made sacred covenants to honor and respect her. Consequences and penalties should be greater.
When we thought Lori was missing, you good citizens of this great state of Utah came out by the thousands to help search for her. You showed deep compassion when you scoured the canyons and hillsides. I am pleading for your help on more time. Please contact your Utah State legislator for your district and let them know that you expect them to support this bill as it is written without any changes,. The media has dubbed this "Lori's law"; however, the Utah State Legislature refers to this as "Sentencing for first degree felony murder". It is being introduced by a representative from Orem in the 59th district, Lorie D. Fowlke. If you don't know who your representatives are you can find out who and how to contact them at www.le.state.ut.us.
Since the very first day of this agonizing ordeal, we have felt your love and support. This community suffered with us. I am pushing this bill forward with all of my passion and energy so that you won't have to go through what my family and I have been through. It will never be enough to repay your kindness but it's my attempt to give a little bit of hope back to this community that was so gracious to us.