Murder victim inspires legislation to amend 1983 statute

Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 13:26:06-05

Idaho Representative Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, is trying to get a hearing scheduled for legislation to enact an amendment to the state malicious harassment statute.

She intends to do so in the name of murdered Boise State Employee Steven Nelson, 49. He was lured to a secluded area near Lake Lowell and beaten to death after answering an online ad for gay sex.

Wintrow says the 1983 statute needs to be updated to include protections for the LGBT community. She says it's a matter of public safety and comes at a time when there's been an uptick in such hate crimes across the nation.

"To commit an act of violence so heinous because of who you are is never tolerated in civil society," Wintrow says. "It [passage of an amendment to the malicious harassment statute] sends a symbolic message that... that is not who we are."

Wintrow is currently working to get enough support from fellow legislators to get a hearing on the docket.