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With 'Carl’s Law,' Lawmaker Wants To Prevent Crimes Against People With Disabilities

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office

There’s a part of Florida law that could be renamed, under a bill starting to move through the Florida Legislature. That statute deals with creating enhanced penalties for crimes against people with a physical or mental disability.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Johns), says she wants to rename a particular section of state law to “Carl’s Law” to memorialize a person who lost his life in her district.

“This past August, Carl Henry Starke, an autistic resident of St. Johns County was killed on his way home from a shopping trip,” she said. “Sheriff David Shoar stated that the attacker had followed Carl home to steal his car because he was perceived as a soft target. He was then murdered in cold blood.”

Stevenson says her bill—which has passed its first House committee stop—seeks to honor Carl’s life and build awareness of Florida’s increased penalties for crimes committed against people with disabilities to help prevent future tragedies.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.