Proposal to change New Mexico’s child abuse law moves forward

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A proposal to change a law to keep child killers behind bars longer has passed its first hurdle.

Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes is trying once again to expand Baby Brianna’s Law.

As that law reads currently, someone who kills a child under the age of 12 can be sentenced to life in prison, but if the child is over 12, the maximum penalty is only 18 years.

During a committee hearing Thursday, Maestas Barnes said changing the law now wouldn’t make a difference in the recent Jeremiah Valencia case, but will in the future.

“It’s too late for him, but we don’t want to be here next year or another year and say, ‘Gosh, I wish we would’ve passed this,'” Maestas Barnes said.

The bill is now headed to another committee.

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