NEW: Governor Signs 'Ben's Law'

Posted: April 8, 2014

Daily News-Record

Ben Graessle's stepfather, Wes Songer, stands outside the Rockingham County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, holding nearly 6,000 signatures in support of "Ben's Law." Songer was among a dozen of Graessle's family and friends to travel to Richmond to speak to state legislators in January
Ben Graessle, a 2011 Spotswood High School graduate, was gunned down in Harrisonburg three days before Christmas 2012. (Photo by Courtesy Photo)

HARRISONBURG - Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed “Ben’s Law,” a bill that makes accessory after the fact to murder a felony, Monday.

The bill easily cleared both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly on the way to the governor’s desk.

Before the new law, the crime was a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Now, offenders face up to five years in prison.

“At least it’s going to spare other loved ones of victims,” said Debbie Songer, the mother of Ben Graessle, who was murdered in 2012. “Ben’s life is worth more than a year in jail. Hopefully it will be a deterrent to those that want to assist in a murder.”

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