State assembly to take final vote on Chelsea's Law

By City News Service

The state Assembly was expected to take a final vote Monday on a proposed law named for slain Poway High School student Chelsea King.

AB 1844 - Chelsea's Law - calls for mandatory life sentences for violent sex crimes against children. It also tightens sex offense parole guidelines and requires lifelong tracking of certain sex offenders.

Registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III pleaded guilty to murdering King and, a year earlier, to killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison.

The bill previously passed the Assembly, and was approved on a 33-0 vote in the state Senate last Tuesday. It has to return to the Assembly for consideration of the final text of the measure, and will then be sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has promised to sign it.

Last Thursday, Chelsea's parents announced that they had filed paperwork with the California Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board, which makes payments to crime victims.

The move was just ahead of a six-month deadline, and is meant to preserve the King family's right to seek compensation, said Sara Muller Fraunces, a spokeswoman for Chelsea's parents.

The Kings have not made a final decision on whether to seek compensation for the murder of their 17-year-old daughter, who disappeared Feb. 25 while jogging on a trail near Rancho Bernardo Community Park.

"We are just beginning to think through this issue and are factoring in a variety of opinions," the Kings said in a statement. "If any compensation is received in the future, it will be used to further Chelsea's dream of changing our world for the better."

   
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