Baldwin County lawmaker hopes new bill can protect grandparents in domestic violence situations

That gruesome and horrific murder in February is what prompted state lawmakers to step in.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 9:40 PM CDT
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DAPHNE Ala. (WALA) - A Baldwin County representative is calling for better protections for certain victims, after four people were murdered.

Matt Simpson says his House Bill 76 would give grandparents the same protections as victims of domestic violence.

Simpson says grandparents are just as involved as parents, spouses, or any other person and should be protected.

In a recent Daphne case, investigators say a protection order, may have saved the lives of two grandparents and others.

That gruesome and horrific murder in February is what prompted state lawmakers to step in.

The Lake Forest subdivision was shaken the night of February 22nd, when Daphne investigators say Jared Smith-Bracy brutally murdered four people.

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Shooting them and then bludgeoning them to death with a pick axe.

The victims were his grandparents, his brother, and a family friend.

State representative Matt Simpson, who serves the Daphne community, says Smith-Bracy’s grandparents should have been able to protect themselves.

That’s where House Bill 76 comes in.

“In a situation like what happened in Daphne a few weeks ago this could have potentially allowed no contact provision, or for a lack of better words, a restraining order to be in place,” Simpson said. “And that the defendant could not go back and do what he did in that home.”

Investigators say Smith-Bracy carried out those brutal murders hours after bonding out on a criminal mischief charge.

He was accused of breaking down his grandparents’ door and threatening to kill them.

No laws are in place to have prevented him from going back to the home.

Representative Simpson says under current domestic violence laws it includes spouses, parents, step-parents, and stepchildren, as well as dating relationships.

He says grandparents were included at one point but later removed.

“Grandparents should have always been included. We have so many more instances where grandparents are that primary caregiver, and what we want to do is be able to take care of people so what happened unfortunately will never happen again.”

The bill is still in the early stages but Rep. Simpson says it’s already gaining momentum and that people are seeing the need for this change.

The special session ends Thursday and the regular session begins on Tuesday.

Rep. Simpson anticipates this bill to be on the calendar for next week.

You can read the full bill in its entirety, here.