Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 8, 2013

'Justin's Law' passes

Designed to provide authorities greater powers to police sex offenders

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

AUSTIN — A bill that heralds the tightening of laws around violent child sex offenders has passed the Texas Legislature.

State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, praised House Bill 1302 — which he authored — as he formally announced its passage this week.

Formerly known as “Justin's Bill,” the measure is now referred to as “Justin's Law” and places employment restrictions on certain violent sex offenders as well as tougher penalties on repeat offenders.

Anyone convicted a second time of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child under 13, would automatically face a life sentence.

“This bill will help protect our children and punish those repeat offenders,” Clardy said in a news release.

The bill is named after Justin M. Bloxom, a 12-year-old boy living in Stonewall, La. who was killed three years ago. Justin  is the stepson of Cherokee County Court-At-Law Judge Craig Fletcher and the son of the judge's wife, Amy.

The Fletchers worked closely with Clardy to get the bill passed. Versions of the bill  have already have passed through the respective Louisiana and Oklahoma legislatures.

Justin was murdered, allegedly by a sex offender, on March 30, 2010.

Authorities say the man accused in Justin’s death was a twice-convicted sex offender who used his leased taxi cab in his ruse to lure Justin away from a friend’s home.

Justin’s body was discovered in a wooded area where the taxi cab had been seen earlier.  The cause of death was asphyxiation.

Justin was killed after he apparently was lured away from the safety of a house with deceptive texts and a leased taxi cab by someone who then choked him to death, reports show. It was determined after Justin's body was found in a wooded area that the youth died of asphyxiation.

Authorities said the offender believed to have killed him already had been convicted twice for similar crimes.

The man accused of slaying Justin is currently on trial for his life, charged with first degree murder and kidnapping in Louisiana. That trial is expected to begin this summer, officials said.