Bryan Durman Act to change Senate Bill 15, toughening sentences

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - They say all too often the punishments don't fit the crimes!

Now some prosecutors and lawmakers are supporting an act that would strengthen sentences for people convicted of crimes currently not considered violent.

It's named in honor of Lexington Police Officer Bryan Durman who was killed in the line of duty in 2010.

His widow and others say the man convicted of the crime should have received a tougher sentence.

Officer Durman's death is generating a revision to Senate Bill 15.

"It's not perceived as a violent offense. That's ridiculous," said Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson.

Officer Durman was killed by a hit and run driver, Glenn Doneghy, who was convicted of second degree manslaughter. Doneghy received a 20-year prison sentence.

But under Kentucky law, that charge is considered nonviolent.

That's what Senator Alice Forgy Kerr is trying to change with the Bryan Durman Act.

"This is letting the punishment fit the crime. That's the point," said Larson.

The proposal Senator Kerr is sponsoring would classify people convicted of criminal homicide as violent offenders, making them serve 85 percent of their sentences, instead of 20 percent.

"Victims are going to feel a little bit better about the fact that someone who killed their loved one is going to spend more than 15 or 20 minutes in prison," said Larson.

But unfortunately for his family, Doneghy's nonviolent charges are set in stone and his sentence still won't change even with this revision to the bill.

"It is what it is for Glenn Doneghy. He'll be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of the sentence he got," said Larson.

Officer Durman's widow, Brandy, knows Doneghy's fate won't change. But Larson tells us that's not why she's supporting this act.

"She wants to assist other people to avoid the injustice that the law has perpetrated on she and her family," said Larson.

If this act were already in effect, then Doneghy would have to serve 17 years instead of just four years before being eligible for parole.

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