A terrible murder case from Jackson County triggers a proposed change in Missouri’s kidnapping laws.
The state senate has moved to change the law on parental kidnapping. Jackson County prosecutor Jim Kanatzar has asked for the change because of the Porter case—the parental kidnapping case that turned into a double-murder case last year. You’ve heard of it–Daniel Porter, who took his two children for a weekend and never brought them back because he murdered them. Their bodies were found in a wooded area of Sugar Creek last year after Porter told authorities where he’d buried the. He’s in prison for life.
But until he confessed, he was serving a relatively light prison sentence under a law that Senator Chris Koster says is inadequate. He tells the Senate, "The law says if you have any custodial rights over that child, you are ineligible for regular kidnapping. You can only be charged with parental kidnapping."
His amendment to another bill says the longer the children are gone, the longer the prison sentence when the parent is convicted—topping out with a ten-to-20 year sentence if the child is kept more than four months.
Koster has grafted his proposal onto a broader measure upgrading laws on child pornography and cyber-crimes that target children. The senate has tentatively approved it and could send it to the House this week.