Indiana lawmakers to vote on changes to Criminal Code

Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that could keep felons behind bars longer.

It's part of the first major overhaul of the state's Criminal Code since 1977.

Among the proposed changes, felons would have to serve at least 75 percent of their sentences. The current code only requires they serve 50 percent.

It's a change two St. Joseph County families have pushed for since the murders of their loved ones.

In June, police say 41-year-old Steven Clippinger killed his brother, Matt Clippinger, and his sister-in-law, Lisa Clippinger.

The couple's children were home at the time.

Clippinger's fate will be decided by a judge in April.

If convicted, it wouldn't be the first time he's served time for a murder charge.

In February 1990, he was convicted of murdering a 66-year-old Richard Gibson of South Bend.

Clippinger was sentenced to 45 years in prison, but was released in April 2010 for good behavior.

His story is striking similar to Tarrence Lee's.

In August, Lee killed his wife, 45-year-old Trina Winston.

He was sentenced to 65 years in prison.

Lee had previously been convicted on two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in the late 1980s.

He was released early for helping prosecutors solve 10 other murders.

The families of Trina Winston and Matt and Lisa Clippinger say their loved ones would still be around if the murderers served their entire sentences.

The families came together in the wake of tragedy and started a petition to get legislators to eliminate good behavior credit for violent offenders.

While the proposed changes to the Criminal Code don't go that far, they do reduce the amount of credit felons can get for completing a degree.

The legislation would also change the way Indiana felonies are classified, making the punishment more properly fit the crime.


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