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Chelsea’s parents, assemblyman plan forum for tonight

The parents of slain Poway High School senior Chelsea King and state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher plan to host a two-hour community forum Tuesday as part of their campaign for stricter sex offender legislation.

Fletcher, R-San Diego, and the King family want to enact “Chelsea’s Law,” which would mandate stricter sentencing for violent sex offenders and more intensive monitoring of those who are released from prison.

Chelsea, a straight-A student, athlete and musician, went missing Feb. 25 after she went for an after-school run near Lake Hodges. Her body was discovered five days later in a shallow grave near the water’s edge.

Convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III is charged with her rape and murder. Gardner, 30, was registered as a Lake Elsinore resident but was staying with his mother in Rancho Bernardo, near where Chelsea was slain.

Gardner pleaded guilty 10 years ago to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old neighbor girl at his mother’s home in Rancho Bernardo. A psychiatrist recommended Gardner receive the maximum sentenced of 30 years in prison, but the District Attorney’s Office made a plea deal to spare the victim from testifying at trial. Under that deal, Gardner served five years of a six-year sentence.

The forum was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Maranatha Chapel in 4S Ranch.