Keeping violent felons accountable

Posted at 10:26 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 22:26:49-04

In 2013, Thomas and Linda Randolph's daughter Shannon Pepper met a man named Tony Nevone. 

"And a month later they're dating", Linda said, "Two months later he's trying to kill her."

Nevone was a convicted felon who went to jail for severely beating his previous girlfriend before Pepper. From July 13th-15th of 2013, Nevone tortured Rudolph, leaving her in a coma. 

"The nurses would say, 'We've seen accident victims that aren't worse than this and they don't survive" Thomas said. 

Pepper would end up surviving the abuse, but in 2015, an apartment fire would end up killing her. 

"She was a caring, loving, wonderful person" Linda said. 

When Pepper met Navone, he told her he went to prison because of a bar fight, not because he beat his ex-girlfriend. As of now, there is no database that could have contradicted him. 

"You're trusting that perpetrator to be honest with the person they're dating or interacting with," Thomas said, "and they just are not."

This is why the Randolph's have become strong supporters of a bill called Brittany's Law. A law that is led by Dale Driscoll who is the grandmother to Brittany Passalacqua. In 2009, 12 year-old Passalacqua was tragically stabbed to death, along with her mother, Helen Buchel, by her mother's boyfriend, John Brown. At the time he was on parole for assaulting his infant daughter after having been released early, serving two-and-a-half years of a three-year sentence.

Brittany's Law would act similar to the sex offender registry by creating a database for all convicted felons. 

"It will tell you what that person did" Linda explained, "what they currently look like, and what they (are convicted of) verbatim)."

That means that a person could look up an individual and find out exactly what led them to jail. The Randolph's believe a database like this would have saved their daughter from so much pain. 

"Had that law passed in 2013 my daughter would have know that Tony Nevone was violent. She would have known what he did and I think she would have stayed away from him" Linda said. 

The law has passed NYS Senate for eight consecutive years, but has failed to reach the assembly floor each time. In a statement from State Senator Catherine Young (R,C,I 57th District), who sponsors the law, she believes Brittney's Law could be life saving. 

“The heartbreak that Linda Randolph and her family live with every day underscores the critical need for Brittany’s Law.  If a statewide registry of domestic violence abusers had been available when Linda’s daughter Shannon Pepper met Anthony Nevone, she would have been able to end the relationship before he savagely beat her and put her life in a downward spiral. 

Stories like Shannon’s, and like those of Helen Buchel and her daughter Brittany Passalacqua, are why I am the sponsor of Brittany’s Law. If it were enacted, it would save lives simply by giving women critical and potentially life-saving information. 

The State Senate passed Brittany’s Law for the eighth consecutive time in 2018 and for the eighth consecutive time, the Assembly failed to bring the measure up for a vote. That is unconscionable. I will not stop fighting until Brittany’s Law is on the books.” 

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