‘Son of Sam’ law goes to governor’s desk

Published 4:39 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

The Alabama Senate passed a bill Thursday that will prohibit felons from making money off their crimes.

The House of Representatives has already passed the bill, which now goes to Gov. Bob Riley’s desk.

Rep. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) and Rep. Zeb Little (D-Cullman) sponsored the bill.

Ward first drafted the legislation in 2007 after learning two Alabama death row inmates were selling graphic descriptions of their crimes online.

Convicted killers James Trawick and Daniel Siebert were auctioning off drawings, letters and essays on the Internet for large sums of money, Ward said.

Under the bill, any profits from accounts of crimes would be given to victims and their families.

“This is just good old Alabama common sense. Paint, write, create all you want, but every dime you make will never reach your pockets,” Ward said. “You will not victimize these families again by making money off your crimes. This money is for restitution and for victims and their families.”

The law, which at least 42 states have adopted, is commonly known as a “Son of Sam” law. It was first enacted in New York after the infamous “Son of Sam” killer wrote a book and profited from sales while in prison.

This is the third year in a row that Ward has tried to pass the legislation. Similar bills didn’t make it out of both the House and Senate in 2007 and 2008.