Meet Romona Rivera from Danbury.
In 2006, her son Royel Messiah Taft, was allegedly struck by a car and killed by a repeat offender who was high on drugs. Like the brutal triple murder of William Petit's family in Cheshire by the hands of two parolees with a long criminal record, as WTNH reports, Rivera, as well as people across the state, wants something done about Connecticut's sentencing guidelines as well as strengthen the supervision of parolees who are out on the streets.
Gov. Rell's Sentencing & Parole Review Task Force hears from the public today on ways to change how criminals are sentenced and paroled here in Connecticut. One woman in the crowd knows what it's like to feel loss, and she's fighting for change.
Ramona Rivera is a mom from Danbury and she wants this group to be responsible. Her 8-year old son was allegedly run down by a woman who was a repeat offender high on crack.
"Driving around high, committing offense after offense, feeling that you can get one deal after another, not even attempting programs. It just can't happen anymore," Rivera said.
Her son, Royel Messiah Taft, died in 2006. Royel and his older brother were playing outside when a car came barreling down a one way street and ran him over right in the front yard.
"My 8-year-old died in my 12-year-old's arms," she said. "Every day we struggle."
She says her son's alleged killer was convicted seven times on burglary, larceny and drug charges, but was still allowed to drive around.
"I was devastated," Rivera said. "I thought our system was also responsible for killing my son."
Ramona Rivera says her sons alleged killer is locked up in Niantic Women's prison and has yet to be tried or sentenced. Though she was offered was 12 years, suspended after 8. Rivera says a better deal would be the maximum 20 years.
While my heart goes out to the Rivera and Petit, my heart burns at the thought that these people had to endure this nonsense in the first place and that the state allows individuals with long criminal records back on the street with little supervision to commit more crimes.
Hopefully something productive comes out of this task force or as my blogger colleague Genghis states, some lawmakers should be kicked out of office.