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Florida House Passes Murder Witness Protections Bill

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A bill seeking to help protect the identity of murder witnesses who come forward has passed the Florida House.

Rep. Cynthia Stafford’s (D-Miami) bill creates a public records exemption and keeps confidential the personal information of a witness to a murder for two years after the homicide occurred. Stafford says her goal is simple: allow witnesses who fear retaliation to come forward.

“I have in my district headlines like this: ‘Ten Shootings In Ten Days, ’ ‘A 10-Year-Old Retrieving His Basketball in His Front Yard Shot And Killed,’ An Eight-Year-Old Girl Shot And Killed Walking Out Of Her Front Yard,’ A Straight-A Student On Her Way To College, The Valedictorian Of Her Class With A Full Scholarship Shot And Killed Riding In Her Car.’ In each of these instances, someone knows what happened, but they’re afraid to come forward.”

While her bill passed the House Thursday 113-3, the Senate measure has one more stop before heading to the floor.

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.