On Saturday, September 24, when State Senator Susan Paddack, an Ada Democrat, heard the news that the body of Caitlin Wooten had been found shot to death by Jerry Don Savage, she knew as a lawmaker she must work to change the laws to prevent another family from being ripped apart by a senseless act of violence.

After speaking to Caitlin’s family about their wishes and receiving their support, she began working on legislation that would honor the memory of 16-year-old Caitlin Wooten.

Because of current bail law in Oklahoma, people who commit these violent crimes often times are able to quickly post bail and roam the streets until they stand trial.

“In the case of Jerry Don Savage, he posted bail and then abducted and killed Caitlin Wooten before he ever saw the inside of a court room,” Paddack said. “I was outraged to know that just weeks earlier, Caitlin’s killer was sitting in a Pontotoc County jail cell for kidnapping her mother at gun point. Now the life of this Oklahoma family and the small rural community of Ada will never be the same.”

After months of research and working closely with local and state criminal justice community, the Attorney General’s office and members of Caitlin’s family, Sen. Paddack filed Caitlin’s Law today, to be considered when the Second Session of the 50th Oklahoma Legislature begins in February.

The Senator said SB 1037 is aimed at strengthening bail laws for persons charged with committing violent crimes, protecting victims of violent crime through an electronic notification system and beefing up victim protection order (VPO) laws in Oklahoma to mirror federal VPO laws.

Paddack said she will ask Senate Judiciary Chairman, Senator Charlie Laster, (D-Shawnee) to put Caitlin’s Law at the top of the committee agenda when it meets for the first time in February, and expects the bill to make it through the legislative process without any problems.

“I can’t imagine this bill being held up for political purposes because I believe every legislator in this building wants to do their part in preventing another family from suffering a loss like the one of Caitlin,” Paddack said. “SB 1037 is tough on crime and it is strong bill for Oklahoma families and Oklahoma communities.”

Paddack said members of Caitlin’s family; her mother Donna Wooten and her grandmother Joann Wood, along with members of the law enforcement community will join the Senator on Thursday at 2:00 P.M. in Room 419-C to meet with members of the press to discuss the details of Caitlin’s Law and the importance of passing the bill as soon as session begins in February.

“By passing Caitlin’s Law early in the session, we will be sending a strong message to those who think they can get away with hurting Oklahoma families,” Paddack said. “We will send the message that Oklahoma will not tolerate this sort of senseless violence because we believe in protecting Oklahoma families and Oklahoma communities.”

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