Bill passes granting grandparents protection in domestic violence

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 9:21 PM CDT
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DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - A milestone bill passed in the Senate and House means grandparents and grandchildren could have protection under the law when it comes to domestic violence.

A state representative said this change happened because of the quadruple homicide in Daphne back in February.

Now, the bill is sent to the governor’s office.

Jared Smith-Bracy, 21, is charged with capital murder.

He’s accused of violently killing four people with a pickaxe and gun, two of those victims included his grandfather and grandmother, Leonard and Barbara Smith who he lived with.

Just before the murders, investigators said Smith-Bracy allegedly went on a rampage through his grandparent’s house after an argument over dishes. He was arrested and charged with criminal mischief but bonded out.

He was not charged with domestic violence because under the current law, grandparents cannot file for restraining orders.

Something Representative Matt Simpson said will change under this bill.

“Based on what happened there, I filed a bill to change that law to where grandparents can be included in domestic violence cases,” said Simpson. “The reason why that’s important is because you can create the no contact order or lack of a better terms of restraining order. You have a cool off period, so people won’t have the ability to just bond out and go right back to where they came from.”

Simpson added this bill will better protect grandparents and grandchildren.

“A lot of times, grandparents are the principal custodian,” he said. “They are the person who is actually raising the child. So, you have these laws in effect to affect parents and, you know, siblings and things like that. We wanted to put grandparents into that law.”

Last month during Smith-Bracy’s preliminary hearing, his attorney requested a psychiatric evaluation of his client.

Smith- Bracy faces possible execution if convicted, but the Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty yet.