Bill named after slain Fort Worth college student on governor's desk
The family of a murdered Fort Worth college student is awaiting final passage of a law named in her memory.
Molly Jane Matheson was preparing to finish her social work degree at Tarleton State University, but her body was discovered inside her TCU-area apartment in the summer of 2017. She was the victim of a sexual assault.
House Bill 3106, or Molly Jane's Law, seeks to identify repeat offender criminals early on by requiring detectives to add a new step in the investigative process.
The bill is on the governor's desk and is awaiting his signature.
The law aims to identify violent, repeat offender criminals before they strike again.
Tracy Matheson, Molly's mom, sought help from her legislator to draft what became House Bill 3106. It sailed through committees in the Texas House and Senate.
“It wasn’t long after Molly died that as I put pieces together and understood the prevalence of rape, the lack of reporting, the lack of arrests, the lack of prosecution and lack of convictions,” Tracy said. “I learned that 90% of all rapes are committed by repeat offenders and somewhere between 63 to 65 of all rapists are repeat offenders. I put all of that together and was like hello. We need to do something.”
Molly was 22 and a dancer studying social work with a desire to help the less fortunate and ultimately change the world. Her dream was cut short in 2017. Her body was found inside her TCU-area apartment. She had been raped and murdered.
Molly’s suspected killer is Reginald Kimbro He will soon to go on trial. Days after Molly’s death, police say he raped and murdered another woman, Megan Getrum, in Plano. He is also linked to another rape in 2014.
House Bill 3601 will require Texas law enforcement agencies during investigations to input suspect information into the "violent criminal apprehension program," an existing national database for an extensive search.
“With it being this national database, law enforcement agencies across the state of Texas are going to be able to speak to one another. Something that happens in Abilene, maybe the same name is going to pop up in Tyler, Texas,” Tracy explained. “To do something to help us know who those repeat offenders are is only going to help improve taking repeat offenders off the street before they rape again or before their behavior escalates.”
It’s been two years of difficult coping for Molly's family, but they are determined to make something good be the result.
"We don’t get any more time with her, but we can make sure her story makes an impact and her story brings change,” Tracy said. “And I believe with all my heart her story is going to bring change because we can do better.”
Kimro’s trial is currently set for Sept. 9 in Tarrant County.