Aniah’s Bill on priority agenda for legislative session; would allow bond denial for violent offenders

Updated: Feb. 21, 2021 at 10:25 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama lawmakers are in Montgomery getting ready for the second week of the legislative session.

With a lot to get to, House members have released their priority list for bills.

Two families who both lost loved ones from to murder say their accused killers should not have been on the streets. Now both families are fighting for laws to change in Alabama.

“If they are convicted of rape, or murder, or some violent assault, then obviously those type of people should not be given the opportunities to be out.”

Aniah Blanchard was killed after she was kidnapped from an Auburn gas station in 2019.

One Year Later: Aniah Blanchard’s remains found in Macon Co.
One Year Later: Aniah Blanchard’s remains found in Macon Co.((Source: WTVM))

The man accused of her murder, was out on bond for other violent crimes.

Herndon Self Jr. was murdered in September of 2020.

His family tells us, Junior’s accused killer, Nathan Stephens, is awaiting sentencing, but eligible for a $50,000 bond.

“You know your daddy’s just been murdered and you’re giving him the opportunity to get out. It doesn’t matter how he was murdered, you took an innocent life,” Nicholas Self said.

Nicholas Self, Junior’s son tells us he was horrified to hear that news.

He says Aniah’s bill would prevent future tragedies from happening because it would give judges the ability to deny bond for violent offenders.

As the law stands now, the state constitution says a person can only be denied bond for capital offenses.

This bill would change it, to any violent crimes, allowing judges the ability to deny bond for felonies like murder, rape, or kidnapping.

The bill made it out of committee last year, but was never voted on due to the pandemic cutting the session short.

“I know they’re thinking they’re taking peoples’ rights away. But once you cross that line, there aint no rights. You shouldn’t have that right,” Nicholas Self said.

Rachel Cone, Junior’s niece says she’s counting on her representatives to see this legislation through, and encourages everyone to speak up.

“Whenever things like this happen and changes aren’t made, we lost a lot of trust in them and their decision making, so we as a community have to come together and use our voice and make sure our lives and our children and our community is safe,” Cone said.

Junior’s family tells us, Junior was killed several days after Nathan Stephens was released on parole.

They also want to see the 2015 Alabama mandatory release act, designed to help with overcrowding, to get amended.

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