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State Senator

Paul Doyle

Deputy Majority Leader

Representing Cromwell, Middletown, Newington, Rocky Hill & Wethersfield

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Contact: Kerensa Konesni

May 9, 2016

Doyle: Bill Will Prevent Murderers from Collecting Inheritance from Their Victim

Senator Doyle introduced SB 213 in response to David Messenger inheriting his wife’s fortune after murdering her

Senator Paul Doyle (D-Newington) today welcomed final legislative passage of a bill that will clarify state law to prevent a beneficiary who was found not guilty by reason of mental defect or disease from receiving an inheritance from his or her victim.

Senator Doyle introduced this bill after learning about the case of Heather Messenger. Heather was killed by her husband, David Messenger, who was later found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Despite the fact that he murdered his pregnant wife, David Messenger was still able to inherit from his wife’s estate. If a murderer is found guilty of murdering a person, this murderer cannot inherit from his victim. However, current law permits a murderer who is found not guilty due to mental illness or defect to inherit from the estate of the murder victim. This bill will amend current law so such murderers do not profit from their crimes.

“This bill closes a loophole that allowed David Messenger to inherit over $400,000 from his deceased wife’s estate,” said Senator Doyle. “Murders like David Messenger should not receive an inheritance from their victims. It is critical that Governor Malloy signs this piece of legislation to prevent future injustices like the one we saw in the case of the Messengers.”

Senate Bill 213 prevents a defendant from financially benefitting from the killing of another person when the defendant is a named beneficiary of the estate or life insurance policy of their victim.

Now that the bill has passed in the Senate and House of Representatives, it moves on to the desk of Governor Dannel P. Malloy and awaits his signature.



Chair: Judiciary; Regulation Review

Vice Chair: Energy & Technology

Member: Executive & Legislative Nominations; Legislative Management

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