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Ortt's bill to toughen penalties for unlawful disposal of a body passes in Senate


Tue, Mar 31st 2015 09:00 am

Senator Introduced bill named for Amanda Lynn Wienckowski

A bill introduced by State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-C-I-North Tonawanda, that would toughen laws for improperly disposing a body, passed Monday in the Senate. The bill (S2957) would create Amanda Lynn's Law, named after Amanda Lynn Wienckowski, whose body was found in a Buffalo garbage tote in January 2009. The law would change the crime from a misdemeanor to a class D felony.

Amanda Lynn's Law addresses the issue of tampering with potential crime scene evidence. The bill relates to a person knowingly moving, or concealing a human corpse as a way to hinder the discovery of a death.

"It's unfortunate that the need for such a reasonable law is even necessary," Ortt said. "However, current law is far too lenient in cases where individuals commit terrible acts, move or conceal dead bodies, and yet they don't face felony charges. By passing this law, I believe we can help honor Amanda Lynn Wienckowski's memory by ensuring that similar heinous acts are punished to the fullest extent of the law."

Wienckowski's family has been fighting for justice for Amanda ever since the Erie County medical examiner ruled the 20-year-old Kenmore native died of an accidental drug overdose. A second autopsy done by a California pathologist determined Wienckowski was strangled to death. Her family maintains she was murdered. To this day, no one has been charged in connection with Wienckowski's death.

Steven Cohen, the attorney for the Wienckowski family, said, "In most instances, the unlawful disposal of a body involves a homicide. A law making such disposal a felony will deter accomplices from facilitating such crimes."

The bill is being sent to the Assembly.

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