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Bill Aimed At Reducing Domestic Violence Homicides Advances

Correction: This story mistakenly reported that Diana Gonzalez had obtained a restraining order against her husband and that charges had been filed and dismissed against him. KPBS regrets the errors.

— The State Senate has unanimously approved a bill by San Diego Democrat Christine Kehoe designed to reduce domestic-violence homicides. The measure would clarify the dangers posed by strangulation.

Under the bill, strangulation would be legally classified as a traumatic condition. That would subject people who strangle their partner to additional jail time.

Tara Shabazz is executive director of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. She said those who choke their partners need to be severely penalized.

"And so if we hold people accountable, if we say, look, you're not gonna get away with strangulation," Shabazz said, "you're not gonna get a slap on the wrist if you strangle someone, you actually are gonna be prosecuted; it's gonna be a felony, maybe you'll actually think twice before you strangle your partner."

One recent study revealed nearly half of all victims of domestic-violence homicides had experienced at least one episode of attempted strangulation.

Kehoe's measure was inspired by the murder of Diana Gonzalez, who was allegedly killed by her husband at San Diego City College in 2010. Gonzalez had obtained a restraining order against her husband in 2009, accusing him of strangling her.

Prosecutors had filed charges, but later dismissed them.

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