BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — A Massachusetts father made a passionate plea to lawmakers Wednesday to pass Melissa’s bill, a bill that prevents three-time violent habitual offenders from being released on parole. The bill is named after Les Gosule’s daughter who was raped and murdered by a 27-time convicted violent criminal who served less than two years in prison.
“As a father, as a person, my heart tears because I wasn’t there, I couldn’t stop it,” said an emotional Gosule, standing over a stone engraved with his daughter’s name in a garden dedicated to Massachusetts homicide victims.
But with this bill, Gosule hopes to prevent others from suffering the same fate as his daughter. Others like Woburn police officer John Maguire, who was also killed by a repeat violent offender in 2010.
“The fact that somebody was sentenced to three life sentences, is free to roam around December 26
th , the day after Christmas, and kill one of my police officers it totally unacceptable, no matter how you interpret it and we need to fix that,” said Woburn Police Department Chief Robert Ferullo.
The House and Senate passed Melissa’s bill in November, but they can’t agree on how to unify their bills. The House bill focuses on sentencing, the Senate bill tackles crime in general. A conference committee of six lawmakers has until the end of July to negotiate a deal or else the bill dies this session.
Representative Jim Dwyer (D-Woburn) stood beside Gosule and Officer Ferullo, offering his support. He’s hopeful that lawmakers will release a final bill.
“As I said before I have to be optimistic,” said Dwyer. “If [a bill isn’t released] I’m going to be incredibly, incredibly frustrated.”
Conference committee members insist they are closer to reaching a deal and expect to release a final bill in the next 20 days.
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