Lawmakers Working on Tougher Kidnapping Penalties

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By Larry Burkum

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are seeking to enact tougher kidnapping penalties following the kidnapping and killing of a teenage girl last year.

The Des Moines Register reports a House subcommittee on Thursday granted preliminary approval to a bill that would increase the punishment for kidnapping if the victim is 15 or younger.

The legislation raises the sentence for such crimes to 25 years and blocks those convicted of certain crimes from the ability to reduce a sentence.

The legislation responds to the death of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who is believed to have been killed by registered sex offender Michael Klunder.

Klunder's 41-year prison term was cut in half under Iowa law, which shaves sentences by an additional 1.2 days for every day served. He killed himself after the incident.
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