House lawmakers vowed to move quickly Tuesday to toughen the state’s domestic violence laws, saying they want to prevent another case like that of Jared Remy, who allegedly terrorized women for nearly two decades before prosecutors say he killed his girlfriend last August.
Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said the House would pass a bill next week that would toughen penalties for repeat abusers, create new laws against strangulation and suffocation, and require bail commissioners to justify their decisions in writing before they release an accused batterer.
Accompanied by several district attorneys and the state attorney general, DeLeo said the bill is designed to end the kind of leniency that allowed Remy to harass and beat five different girlfriends over 17 years before he allegedly killed his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, on Aug. 15.
“You could see that was a horrific act waiting to happen,” DeLeo said at a State House press conference. “After that, we had to do something to try to stem the tide of these terrible acts that are being committed, especially against women.”
The bill immediately generated strong opposition from members of the defense bar, who accused lawmakers of rushing the legislation.
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