Iowa lawmakers back kidnapping legislation

Bills increasing the penalties for child kidnapping have been easily approved in the Iowa Senate and House.

Lawmakers backed the bills Tuesday. Both were drafted in response to the kidnapping and killing of teenager Kathlynn Shepard last year.

The Senate legislation would increase criminal penalties in cases involving children 17 and younger and cases in which the person convicted had previously been convicted of kidnapping. The House bill increases penalties in cases involving children 15 and under and would prevent those convicted of certain crimes from reducing sentences through good behavior.

Fifteen-year-old Kathlynn is believed to have been killed by a registered sex offender who had been released from prison after serving a reduced sentence. He killed himself after the incident.

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