(April 5, 2013) Bills to increase the penalty for being an accessory after a murder have passed in the House of Delegates and the Senate.
Both bills, introduced by Delegate Mike McDermott and Sen. Norman Stone, increase the penalty for being an accessory after the fact of first- or second-degree murder from five years to 10 years.
The bills would have increased the penalty for being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder from five to 20 years, but amendments changed it to 10 years.
Sen. Stones bill, SB444, passed in the Senate by a 47-0 vote on March 21 and was scheduled to have a first reading in the House Judiciary Committee on April 2.
Delegate McDermott’s bill passed in the House of Delegates by a 136-0 vote on March 7 and had its first reading in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on March 8.
The bills must pass in both chambers in order to make it to the governor’s desk.
In March, both bills were renamed the Sheddy-Bennett Act in memory of Christine Sheddy and Whitney Bennett.
Sheddy was murdered near Pocomoke in 2007 and her body was undiscovered until 2009. She had been buried in the yard of a bed and breakfast in Snow Hill.
One of her murderers is serving life in prison without parole and the other is serving a sentence of life with all suspended but 30 years. The woman who drove her car, with her children inside and Sheddy’s body in the trunk, from Pocomoke to Snow Hill is serving a five-year prison sentence for being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
Bennett was murdered in Wicomico County in 2010. The man convicted of being an accessory after the fact to that murder was also sentenced to five years in prison.