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Tenn. bill would require death penalty or life sentence for killings of first responders

The law would apply to first-degree murder of first responders performing official duties

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By Laura French

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposed Tennessee bill would impose harsher minimum penalties for those convicted of first-degree murder against emergency personnel.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Williamson County), would require a person convicted of first-degree murder of an on-duty first responder to be sentenced to death or life in prison, according to FOX 17. The law would only apply to convicts who “knew or reasonably should have known” that the victim was engaged in official duties.

Murders of law enforcement officers, correctional officers or Department of Correction employees, probation or parole officers, EMS providers, firefighters and rescue workers are covered under the bill. The legislation passed on first consideration in the Tennessee House in March and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.