Alabama Senate votes to expand death penalty law


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate has voted to expand Alabama's death penalty law to include a defendant who kills a person who had a protective order issued against the defendant.

The bill got approved by the Senate 29-0 Tuesday. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Clay Scofield of Guntersville, said earlier the legislation was inspired by the killing of a friend's sister, Kelley Rutledge Johnston, in 2000 after she had taken out a protective order against her estranged husband. The bill gives prosecutors the opportunity to bring a capital murder charge rather than a murder charge, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration with four meeting days remaining in the legislative session.

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