FREMONT - If four seniors at Technology Center get their way, a person convicted of three top-tier felonies in Ohio would face life imprisonment without parole.
Zach Murphy, a senior in Technology Center's criminal justice program and at Old Fort High School, said seniors enrolled in programs at Tech Center have to come up with a senior project. He and three classmates, Nicholas Kerlin of Burgoon, Josiah Britner of Fremont and Jordan Walker of Port Clinton, were trying to come up with ideas and at first had planned to investigate drunk driving.
They decided against the idea because other groups had selected the topic and they wanted to pursue something unique.
Nicholas Kerlin (from left), Josiah Britner, Jordan Walter and Zach Murphy are working on a “three strikes” policy that involves life imprisonment without parole for people convicted of three top-tier felonies in Ohio.
Murphy said the three strikes idea interested them because they want to make the community a safer place, and the idea has been proven to work in other states. Ohio is not one of the states with a policy in effect, he said.
The group started its project in early September and has been gathering and disseminating information.
Murphy said getting a three-strikes policy passed is difficult, so the group wants to establish the groundwork, such as getting a bill introduced at the state level.
How to support the project
People who would like to send comments or letters of support to be forwarded to a local representative can send them to Instructor Mark King at Technology Center, 1220 Cedar St., Fremont, OH 43420. For more information, call (419) 334-5698, ext. 431.
The students are seeking letters endorsing a three-strikes policy from officials with experience in law enforcement and criminal justice. He said he thinks it would be left to a congressman to carry
it through after the students graduate.
Murphy said, so far, he thinks the project has been going well. He and his classmates have done the majority of work in class and are given "senior project days" to work on it.
He said he is confident the group will get a bill introduced.
"We all seem pretty eager and excited to get it going," he said.
Mark King, criminal justice instructor at Tech Center, which is part of Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers, said he thinks the students have a good understanding the result isn't going to happen overnight, and they're trying to get recognition of the type of law.
Many times, high school students try to start at the top and work their way down, but the four students are starting locally and going higher, he said.
"We've talked about the 'three strikes, you're out' quite often," he said.
Murphy said he plans to attend Ohio State University to study criminology and criminal justice studies with a goal to work
for the FBI's behavioral analysis unit.
King, who retired from law enforcement and is in his seventh year teaching in Tech Center's criminal justice program, said
the program is a college-level class.
"My students are getting college credit during their junior and senior year," he said.