Mother of dead son pushes for stricter fatal child abuse punishm - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mother of dead son pushes for stricter fatal child abuse punishments

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Heartland News first told you about 2-year-old Connor Bachuss’s death in Paducah back in 2010. Heartland News first told you about 2-year-old Connor Bachuss’s death in Paducah back in 2010.
Bachuss created a Facebook group called “Connor’s Coalition,” urging people to ask their lawmakers to vote for this bill. Bachuss created a Facebook group called “Connor’s Coalition,” urging people to ask their lawmakers to vote for this bill.
Saunders pleaded guilty to manslaughter two and got a 10 year sentence but he may only serve a fraction of that time. Saunders pleaded guilty to manslaughter two and got a 10 year sentence but he may only serve a fraction of that time.
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PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - More than three years after losing her young son, a Heartland mother wants those convicted to spend more time behind bars when child abuse leads to death.

Heartland News first told you about 2-year-old Connor Bachuss’s death in Paducah back in 2010.

Police arrested Ronald Saunders, who was dating Connor’s mom at the time.

After a hung jury in 2012, Saunders pleaded guilty to manslaughter two and got a 10 year sentence but he may only serve a fraction of that time.

That’s why Connor’s mom is pushing to change Kentucky law.

Mashanna Bachuss said she can’t believe under the current guidelines that her son’s killer could get out by the end of 2014.

That’s why she’s pushing for tougher punishments and has some powerful lawmakers on her side.

"He was a sweet little boy, extremely loveable, he was pretty much like the class clown of our family," said Mashanna Bachuss.

She remembers the 2-year-old son she lost at the hands of her then boyfriend.

Ronald Saunders allegedly abused the boy, leaving bruises, internal bleeding and brain damage along with hundreds of puncture wounds all over his body.

"It shattered all of our lives," said Bachuss.

Saunders pleaded guilty to manslaughter two, and got a sentence of ten years but only has to serve 20 percent of that time before being eligible for parole.

That’s why Bachuss wants a change.

Under what’s being called Connor’s Law, causing a child’s death by abuse would become a Class B felony, meaning a sentence of 10 to 20 years, and a requirement to serve 85 percent of that time.

"I just felt so discouraged that that's how Kentucky viewed fatal child abuse, and I just think it's a huge injustice, and I wanted to be sure another family didn't have to go through everything we went through," said Bachuss.

Kentucky State Representative Gerald Watkins agrees calling the whole situation heartbreaking.

"It’s too late to bring little Connor back, but when that happens in the future someone will pay a higher price," said Watkins.

Bachuss created a Facebook group called “Connor’s Coalition,” urging people to ask their lawmakers to vote for this bill.

She says data shows Kentucky has been in the top 6 states of the highest rate of child abuse since 2008.

"This law is definitely needed, child abuse is not going to be deterred with little to light sentences, we need to make a statement out of these heinous crimes," said Bachuss.

Representative Watkins said they’re working right now to get a hearing and vote for Connor’s Law.

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