New Tennessee law increases punishment in drive-by shooting cases

7:26 PM, Dec 30, 2011   |    comments
  • Bernice Walton and her daughter look through old pictures of her family
  • Lester Walton died in 2009 after he was shot in a drive-by shooting in Knoxville
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The new year brings new laws to the state of Tennessee, some which will increase punishments on crime. Starting January 1, 2012 convicted offenders of drive-by shootings will see harsher punishments.

The law now states reckless endangerment by firing a weapon into a residence is a Class C felony. If the habitation is unoccupied at the time, the offense is a Class D felony.

Bernice Walton lost her husband, Lester, to a drive-by shooting in 2009.

"Shots came from nowhere. We were just sitting there, his mother, and I [were] sitting next to my husband, and bullets just rang through, shot the house up," she said.

She said the shooters had a target in mind when they fired the gun, but accidentally shot at the wrong house and killed her husband.

She believes the new law will deter future incidents.

"I think this will really work. I think it will make people think, if they're going to get a harsher penalty for something they did."

No arrests have been made in the case, but Walton is still hopeful for closure.

"It was just senseless. Didn't make [any] sense at all," she said. ""I hope someday we will see justice. I believe we will."

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