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updated: 4/8/2014 8:02 PM

After Antioch woman's murder, House OKs GPS monitoring of suspects

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  • Paul Neff

      Paul Neff

  • Barbara Wheeler

      Barbara Wheeler

 
By Marty Hobe
mhobe@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House approved legislation Tuesday to let judges authorize tracking someone with a GPS device as part of an order of protection, a proposal that comes in response to an Antioch's woman's killing last year.

State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, a Crystal Lake Republican, won approval after working with Jamie Kephart, daughter of Diane Kephart, 57, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend Paul Neff. Diane Kephart had an order of protection against Neff that was intended to keep him away from her. He killed himself shortly after stabbing her outside her father's house.

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"I am glad the state recognizes the necessity to move this legislation forward," Jamie Kephart said. "This brings us one step closer to helping protect victims against further violence."

State law says a judge cannot order GPS monitoring until after the suspect has violated an order of protection. Under Wheeler's plan, judges could assign the monitoring device immediately as part of an order of protection.

"By strengthening tracking laws for those charged with violent crimes, we may be able to prevent murders like Diane's in the future," Wheeler said. "With modern GPS tracking technology, there is no reason why the authorities should not be monitoring those charged with violent attacks while they are awaiting trial."

The plan was approved by the House with no opposition, and it now moves to the Senate.

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