Tonawanda News

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May 15, 2012

Bill aims to fix unjust law


Tonawanda News —

In Shepherd’s case, during the months of indecision following Constance’s murder, invoices piled up from the coroner’s office where her remains were being held, leaving her already distraught family in the lurch.

For months after his arrest for killing his wife with a knife inside their Sunset Terrace home, Stephen Shepherd refused to take any action to dispose of her remains.

Instead, days turned into weeks and months before Shepherd’s attorney eventually was granted control over the body, opting to bury her ashes at a Bhuddist temple hundreds of miles from Constance’s friends and family, near one of Stephen’s favorite fishing spots in the Adirondacks.

That was roughly three months after the slaying.

Ranzenhofer announced the pending Senate action on the bill at a Capitol news conference on Monday, where he was joined by Constance’s cousin Elaine O’Toole of Tonawanda and by Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Kenmore, who is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly.

Ranzenhofer said the added clause came at the request of the Assembly, and that he is optimistic the body will pass the measure this year, before it must then be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“This is a big step, because this is the proposal as requested by the Assembly, so I would expect that the Assembly will move forward with it,” Ranzenhofer said.

The lone dissenting vote against the bill came from Sen. Tom Duane, a Manhattan Democrat who also voted against the unamended version of the bill when it was first passed in February, 2012.

“It’s not unusual for him to vote against crime bills, but I cannot speak to why he voted against this particular piece of legislation,” Senate Republican Spokesman Mark Hansen said when asked what promoted the lone no vote.

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