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"Ben's Law" by Debbie Hood Songer in Honor of Benjamin Graessle who was murdered by a gang member

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On December 23, 2012, Benjamin Graessle was brutally murdered outside of home in the City of Harrisonburg.  Ben was only nineteen (19) years old.  He was a local college student and former Spotswood High School student athlete and a beloved son and friend. Givi Dudunia, a Georgian National here on a green card, not only assaulted the victim Ben Graessle while his friend Dallas Chaplin shot him, but drove Chaplin from the scene knowing that Chaplin murdered Graessle in the First Degree.   Further, Dudunia took the murderer to his home.  In addition to hiding Chaplin from police, the murder weapon, a .25 caliber Armi Galesi, was also located at his home.

            Chaplin is currently serving a forty (40) year penitentiary sentence for his role in this heinous crime.  However, because of a flaw in Virginia law, Code Section18.2-19 provides that Dudunia’s role as an accessory after the fact to the murder and the use of a firearm in commission of first degree murder only carries up to twelve (12) months in jail and a $2,500 fine.  Dudunia was sentenced to the maximum the law provides for accessory after the fact to the murder and the use of a firearm in commission of first degree murder.  He deserved a far greater punishment.  Ben’s parents, Wesley and Deborah Songer ask for your support in changing this law.

            We the undersigned ask that the General Assembly of Virginia  change Virginia law, Code Section 18.2-19, Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, to provide that Accessory After the Fact to Murder be changed to a felony in the state of Virginia, and that the revised law be named “Ben’s Law” 

 

Written by Debbie Hood Songer, mother



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