Oklahoma House Passes Bill Aimed At Keeping Convicted Murderers In Prison To Senate

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that if it becomes law would require people convicted of accessory to first or second degree murder serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentence.

Wednesday, February 21st 2024, 10:26 pm



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The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that if it becomes law would require people convicted of accessory to first or second-degree murder to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentence.

House Bill 2946 is named in honor of 16-year-olds Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman. The pair were kidnapped from a home in Welch, Okla., in December 1999 and presumed killed.

Lorene Bible, the mother of Lauria Bible, says the passing was a day years in the making and they hope this bill, if it becomes law, will keep criminals locked up longer.

Bible and Ashley Freeman went missing in December of 1999.

Ronnie Busick was convicted of accessory to murder in 2020 and was released after serving 2 years and 4 months of a 10-year sentence.

His sentence was reduced due to credits for time served and what corrections officials called good behavior.

"At the time, we talked to everybody that would listen to us to try to keep Ronnie Busick from getting out. It didn't happen,” said Bible. “How do we make sure this doesn't happen to another family?"

Lauria and Ashley’s Law would require people like Busick to serve 85 percent of their sentence and not get time off their sentence for doing things like brushing their teeth, making their bed, or having a good attitude.

All of those actions could reduce a prisoner’s time under current laws.

"Let's give the victims back some power and authority and some peace and safety instead of protecting criminals,” said Rep. Steve Bashore (R-Miami). “Criminals are going to be criminals. That's why they're criminals. That's why they're in jail. And that's why people like Lorene Bible are out fighting to change laws."

Bashore was the author of the bill on the house side, and he says it doesn’t matter if you pulled the trigger or if you were just there you still should face the consequences of your actions.

"That's all about choices,” said Bashore. “It's the choices we make, the choices you make, the choices we all make. If you're in that room, you know something happened, then you're still an active participant, that applies to me, that applies to everyone else."

Bible says she wants to make sure the girls didn’t die in vain and that their work these past 24 years will mean something.

"You have to make a choice when something like this happens,” said Bible. “You're either going to go hide in the closet and be devastated, or you got to be that family member's voice. I don't go hide. I want to be her voice. So today, Lauria was heard."

The bill will now head to the Senate.

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