By Gina Yarbrough
MIRA MESA–The parents of slain Poway teen Chelsea King and 75th District Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher have united to push for stricter sex offender laws protecting children in the state.
At a news conference Tuesday, Brent and Kelly King said they will support plans by Assemblyman Fletcher to introduce legislation called Chelsea’s Law in honor of their daughter.
“Chelsea has given us the opportunity to make the kind of changes that will save precious young lives like hers,” said the Kings in a written statement. “We do not yet know when or how those efforts will take shape but our commitment to carry her light forward is steadfest. We have decided to collaborate with Assemblyman Fletcher on these yet undefined initiatives.”
Fletcher says he will introduce the legislation in the Assembly in early April.
“There is not a person in our community who hasn’t been touched by this tragedy. As a father and husband, I can’t imagine the pain felt by Brent and Kelly King,” said Assemblyman Fletcher. “I’m humbled that Brent and Kelly have asked me to lead their effort to enact the necessary legal reforms to better protect the children of California.”
Fletcher says he will work with law enforcement, district attorneys, crime victims groups, legislators, and others to evaluate the current system and identify problems, shortcomings, and gaps.
“This effort will culminate with legislation to reform the criminal justice system in California in order to better protect our children,” said Fletcher.
Convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III has pleaded not guilty to abducting and murdering 17-year-old Chelsea King, whose body was found in a Rancho Bernardo park last month.
Gardner also is under investigation but has not been charged in the death of 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido.
The public is encouraged to send ideas or suggestions for reforms, or those who wish to join the effort can contact Assemblyman Fletcher at (858) 689-6290, or e-mail at assembly email@example.com.