For Immediate Release: May 9, 2007
Senator Jim Reynolds
Taylor’s Law will allow Mother to Honor Son in Court
LaDonna Heintzelman wanted the right to wear a button with her
son’s picture during the trial of the man accused of his murder.
State Sen. Jim Reynolds said the Midwest City mother will have that
right. That’s after Senate Bill 868, known as “Taylor’s Law” was
signed by Gov. Brad Henry on Wednesday. The bill was named for
“When I heard LaDonna’s story, I immediately wanted to help. She
simply wants to be able to honor her son with a photo of how he
was in life,” said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “This is an
important day for victim’s rights and for Taylor’s family.”
SB 868 would require courts to allow immediate family members of
a murder victim to wear photo buttons. Those buttons could be up
to four inches in diameter. Reynolds said as the result of a
case out of California, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously
in favor of allowing families to wear such buttons in court.
Reynolds said this was likely the first such law to be passed
since that ruling.
Heintzelman said she was thrilled to learn that the bill had
made it all the way through the legislative process and had been
signed into law. Heintzelman said she wanted her son to be
remembered as the smiling, funny person he was.
“The defendant is not going to look the way he did the day he
committed the crime when we’re in trial. He has the opportunity
to make eye-contact with the jury, to be in a clean suit, to
have a fresh hair cut. My child doesn’t have that. He’s only
portrayed in the trial through crime scene photos, and that’s
not fair. It’s a huge injustice to him, and we just want to
equal the scales a little bit.”
Heintzelman said she was very thankful that Sen. Reynolds had
written Taylor’s Law, along with Rep. Sue Tibbs, co-author of
the measure, and thanked Gov. Henry for signing it. The trial
for her son’s accused killer is scheduled to begin next month.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that makes me just to
know that I can have Taylor on my shoulder, very close to my
heart—he’s always in my heart,” said Heintzelman, adding it was
wonderful that she would be able to represent him the way she
remembered him—with a smile.
For more information contact:
Senator Williamson's Office: (405) 521-5624