Tuesday afternoon, Governor Greg Abbott signed “Lauren’s Law,” to ensure that anyone convicted of capital murder of a child under fifteen years old would receive a sentence of no less than life without parole.
The bill, by Senator Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), is in memory of Lauren Landavazo, a Wichita Falls eighth-grader who was shot to death on her way home from school. Texas law provided for capital punishment for murdering a child under 10 years, but no enhanced penalty for killing an older child.
“As Governor, I am committed to seeking justice on behalf of all Texans and ensuring that perpetrators of heinous crimes are punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Governor Abbott. “We have a responsibility to do all we can to protect innocent children, and I am proud to sign Senate Bill 719 into law to do just that. I am grateful for Senator Fallon’s efforts in getting this important piece of legislation to my desk.”
“No parent should ever wake up in the middle of the night worried that their child’s killer is coming up for parole,” said Senator Fallon. “We are proud to play a role in making sure that anyone who murders a child will never be back on the streets.”
“Lauren’s parents, Vern and Bianka Landavazo, demonstrated tremendous courage, strength, and commitment to share their daughter’s story through their testimony in the Senate Criminal Justice committee,” Senator Fallon continued. “They are heroes because from their grief, they’ve dedicated their time to advocate passionately for justice on behalf of other parents whose children were taken too soon by senseless violence.”
Senator Fallon commended State Representative James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), who first brought the bill to the Texas Legislature in the 2017 legislative session.
“Chairman Frank’s leadership on this issue was exemplary,” Senator Fallon said. “This legislation sends an unmistakable message that Texas is committed to doing all we can to protect our children. We were honored to work with Chairman Frank and the Texas House to make Lauren’s Law a reality.”