Families testify to ask for constitutional rights for crime victims

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky is one of only 15 states that do not provide constitutional protections for crime victims. On Friday, multiple people testified before lawmakers in support of passing "Marsy's Law" in Kentucky.

Right now, Kentucky law provides only statutory protections for victims. Marsy's Law would give legal protection for crime victims. Some of the constitutional rights crime victims would gain is the right to notice of court proceedings, the right to be present at court proceedings, and the right to be heard at plea, sentencing, or any other proceedings implicating the victim's rights.

The family of a Lexington murder victim, Skylar Ray, was among those who testified. Stella Moore says her grandson was shot in 2016 while trying to break up a fight outside of a Lexington bar.

"This experience made me feel terrible, not only for my family but for other families that have had to live through this heartbreak," Moore said.

The shooting left Ray paralyzed from the neck down; four months later he died from his injuries. Lexington Police charged Leslie Parson with murder in the case.

Moore says she supports Marsy's Law because she feels as if Parson has more rights than her family.

"This is something we don't have right now, and we desperately need it."

Senator Whitney Westerfield says he once again plans to file a bill implementing Marsy's Law.

"It will not infringe on the accused rights or impede on the court's ability to adjudicate the case fairly. It simply ensures that victims have a meaningful role in the judicial process and standing to protect their rights if violated."

Some at the meeting did voice concerns with making changes to the constitution. However, they said they are open to hearing more details about the bill during the session.

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