The Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 57, also known as “Justin’s Law,” on Tuesday.
The law was named for Justin Back, an 18-year-old Warren County man, murdered in 2014 by two teens from Montgomery County.
The law would expand the eligibility for a judge to grant parole for offenders found guilty of aggravated murder. Currently, judges can grant parole after 20, 25 or 30 years, whereas HB 57 would add parole eligibility after 35, 40, 45, 50 or 55 years.
House Bill 57 also expands the list of aggravated circumstances under which murders committed “purposely and with prior calculation and design” are classified as aggravated murders.
Under current law, such murders are not eligible for a death penalty sentence. The new law also permits such cases to be considered for capital punishment.
The legislation was introduced by State Rep. Ron Maag (R-Salem Twp.)
Maag was approached by a Back’s mother, Sandy Cates, who was concerned her son’s 19-year-old murderers could be released by the time they turned 44 years old. In Back’s case, Justin Myers was sentenced to the death penalty and Timothy Mosley a life sentence.
The legislation now goes to the Ohio Senate for consideration.