The Iowa Senate has spent much of this (Thursday) morning talking about tougher measures to crackdown on sex offenders, a day after a wide-ranging bill with the same goal cleared the Iowa House. Senator Larry McKibben, a Republican from Marshalltown, held up an eight-by-10-inch picture of the Cedar Rapids girl who was kidnapped, molested and killed and a matching picture of the man who is accused of the crime.”I think it’s very, very clear in the state of Iowa that in a case such as this we have a real weakness by not having a death penalty in this state,” McKibben says. McKibben calls Roger Bentley, the convicted sex offender accused of killing Jetseta Gage, an “animal” and McKibben says he has little sympathy for cops and others in law enforcement who say they need more money to adequately track sex offenders who’re released from prison. “Bunk,” McKibben says. “If you’re a law enforcement person, don’t come to me today and tell me you can’t enforce the law. That’s your job.” McKibben says the death penalty would be a better response than pouring more money into treatment of sex offenders. “How are you going to take care of guy (who is six-feet-one inches tall and 270 pounds) who murders a 10 year old girl?,” McKibben asked, pointing to his enlarged picture of Bentley. McKibben says you can’t “take care” of Bentley without the death penalty. Senator Keith Kreiman, a Democrat from Bloomfield, urged legislators to take a calm, deliberate approach to the problem. “The tragic murder of Jetseta Gage challenges all Republican and Democratic legislators to develop an effective, meaningful response that will prevent future tragedies,” Kreiman says. Kreiman says legislators must look for “common ground” and find out how best to manage convicted sex offenders.
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