The family of 6-year-old murder victim Lauren Belius is outraged about her killer's punishment. Now, they are petitioning to get a law passed, which would bring stricter sentences for someone who intentionally kills a child.
Tuesday night, Lauren's mother Allison flipped through pictures, showing us her precious little girl. "I remember these moments and it just makes you miss her that much more," she said.
It's been 8 months since 6-year-old Lauren was brutally stabbed to death in her Sherrill home by her mother's ex-boyfriend.
The trial has wrapped but her family is still fighting for justice. "Our whole life changed in that half hour. We lost someone who was very very special. She's not going to come back," said her mother Allison. "Someone needs to speak for Lauren."
Tuesday night, Lauren's Mom and Aunt speak exclusively with CNY Central's Caitlin Nuclo. It was also their first time speaking publicly since the bench trial where David Trebilcock was found guilty of killing Lauren, but not responsible because of mental illness. The Judge says though he was found "not responsible" it's different than not guilty. Legal experts who have weighed in on the case, said given the circumstances and the evidence, the Judge made the right decision.
The second degree murder charge he was convicted of - carries a 25-year prison sentence. But because of his mental illness, he was placed in a secure mental health facility and will be reevaluated in a year. If a Doctor finds him to be sane, he could be released. But Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says he will fight hard to keep Trebilcock in that mental facility for the rest of his life.
"25 years to life was not enough," said Allison. "Now we have to worry every 2 years that a doctor might see him and say he is not a threat. We'll be in fear all of our lives that he might come back for us."
"Lauren's law" would change that and ease her family's mind. Right now, they are circulating a petition to get it passed. They want child killers to be charged with first degree murder which carries a harsher maximum punishment, life behind bars without parole. The charge is usually brought against people who kill police officers in the line of duty, or murder for hire plots.
DA McNamara says even if Trebilcock was charged with first degree murder, it would not have changed the outcome of the case because he would still be entitled to the insanity defense. Though he does support the Belius family and their effort to get this law passed.
"Lauren's law" also says if a murderer is later cleared mentally and released from a hospital, then that person would have to serve the rest of his or her sentence in prison. Allison says other states already have similar laws like this in place.
The petition already has almost 2,500 signatures of support. The hope is that New York lawmakers will eventually consider the proposed law, and enact it.
"I have to keep busy, that's how I deal with it," said Lauren's Aunt Kelli Swancott. "If i stop, it's just heartbreaking. And I just feel like we have been in limbo since this started. There is no end, we didn't get justice, Lauren didn't get justice."
Lauren's mother says her twin sister and brother were there when the murder happened. She says the whole family will need counseling for the rest of their lives to cope with the tremendous loss.
To read the petition and sign it,