State Rep. Shelby Slawson backs The Todd-Hogland Act, strengthening punishment for violent offenders

Updated: 6 days ago


Brandi Todd is pictured with her mother and State Rep. Shelby Slawson.

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


Two horrible crimes are etched into the memory of Stephenville residents who remember the day in 2010 when a young mother, Brandi Todd, became the victim of a random stabbing at City Park.


Even more shocking was the fact that her attacker was sentenced to a mere 20 years in prison for the attack that left Todd permanently paralyzed.

Seven years later, Stephenville residents were rocked again when Jamie Hogland, a Tarleton State University student, was shot inside her apartment in a case of mistaken identity. The attack left Hogland a quadriplegic.


In one of her most meaningful acts since she was elected to the Texas House, State Representative Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville) backed a bill that increases the punishment for these types of violent offenders.

Currently, crimes like these, when committed by certain assailants like a dating partner, are first-degree felony offenses, but when committed by strangers - even when the victim is left paralyzed - are only a second-degree felony.

The Todd-Hogland Act (HB 3934) changes that by increasing the potential punishment range to a first-degree felony in situations when victims suffer traumatic brain or spinal injuries, leaving them permanently paralyzed or in a vegetative state.

HB 3934 was passed unanimously out of committee on Monday night.


“When Brandi Todd and Jamie Hogland were horrifically assaulted in our communities, their lives were forever changed,” Slawson told Beneath the Surface News. “Through their courageous pursuit of justice for victims of such crimes, and the raw and passionate testimony presented in Austin, the Todd-Hogland Act will make an important and meaningful change in sentencing laws.”

Sadly, Hogland passed away a few weeks ago, but Todd and both families attended the hearing and gave impactful testimony about the crimes and importance of the bill.


Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash also testified about the need for change.