Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Murder victim's father calls for change

TAMPA, FL -- After the conviction of his son's killer, Ron Tomlinson knew things had to change.

22-year-old Joshua Rosa was sentenced to life in prison for killing Tomlinson's son, Stephen at Logan Gate Park in 2005. But Tomlinson feels the punishment was not harsh enough.

"I trusted this monster," Tomlinson said. "And he goes out and murders my child."

Rosa served as Stephen Tomlinson's youth minister and had a clean record. The death penalty was never considered. Now, Ron Tomlinson is proposing "Stephen's Law," an addition to the Florida State Statute.

"If there is any authority over a child as a babysitter, a youth minister, a teacher," Tomlinson said. "If a child is murdered in their care... I would like the death penalty to be considered."

Former Hillsborough County prosecutor Lyanne Goude says not every first-degree murder case deserves the death penalty.

"To seek death on an individual, you have to have circumstances that are egregious," Goude said. "And set apart this murder from all other murders that are committed."

Tomlinson disagrees and is moving forward with a petition for "Stephen's Law".

"I would like to see people sign the petition," Tomlinson said. "Especially those that have kids because they never know what'll happen one day to the next."

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