Texas

Texas lawmakers remembered Molly Jane on Monday — and advanced a law named for her

The Texas House gave preliminary approval Monday to Molly Jane’s Law, a measure geared to help law enforcers better track sexual assaults and prevent Texans from dying at the hands of serial offenders.

The measure by state Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, is named after Molly Jane Matheson, a 22-year-old Fort Worth woman who murdered two years ago.

He said House Bill 3106 would help law enforcers identify patterns of sexual assaults and identify serial offenders before they attack again.

“There’s no more important bill I’ve ever had as a member of this body in my four sessions than this particular bill right here,” Goldman said Monday, as House members surrounded him to show their support.

Goldman grew up with Molly Jane’s parents, Tracy and David Matheson.

The bill would require investigation information such as a suspect’s name and date of birth, the offense being investigated and circumstances around it to be put into the national database of the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, which is maintained by the FBI.

The goal, he said, is to help investigators who can look for similarities in cases they are working on, potentially preventing the same person from attacking again.

Reginald Gerard Kimbro, 25, remains in the Tarrant County Jail awaiting trial, accused in the rape and murder of Matheson. The two once dated.

Police determined that Kimbro had visited Matheson’s TCU-area home April 8, the night before her body was found. Kimbro admitted he visited Matheson, but he said she was alive when he left. Police believe he raped and strangled Matheson, then washed her clothes, bedding and body, trying to get rid of the evidence. He was arrested after DNA tests tied him to evidence found on her body.

Kimbro also has been indicted in the capital murder of Megan Leigh Getrum, a 36-year-old Plano woman. And he has been linked to other cases, including the choking and raping of a 20-year-old woman in South Padre Island in 2014.

“The problem is that detectives in Plano did not have the tools to know that detectives in South Padre were investigating the same individual,” Goldman said. “Because of this, he was free to wander the streets around the state of Texas and commit the same act time after time.”

HB 3106, he said, could stop that.

The measure still needs final approval from the House before it’s sent to the Senate for consideration.

Texas lawmakers have until the end of their legislative session, May 27, to pass laws.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.
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