Mother, Supporters Rejoice After Signing Of Sheddy-Bennett Act - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Mother, Supporters Rejoice After Signing Of Sheddy-Bennett Act

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A five-and-a-half year roller coaster ride of emotions for Lynn Dodenhoff comes full swing with the signing of the Sheddy-Bennett Act.

"Mother's Day was hard for me," Dodenhoff said holding back tears. "It was really hard for me. I'll never see her again."

Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the measure doubling the charge for an accessory to first and second degree murder from five years to now 10 years.

"It's an answer to a family's question, 'why so little time?'" said Beau Oglesby, Worcester Co. State's Attorney.

The push came after two brutal murders ended with at least one of the convicted receiving only five years behind bars.

Lynn's daughter Christine Sheddy went missing for three years before her body was found buried at a Snow Hill bed and breakfast. Only ten months later, Whitney Bennett goes missing, found buried four months later in a wooded area in Somerset County.

Sheddy's killers were both convicted, but an accessory to the murder, Tia Johnson, received only a five-year sentence. The same sentence for Claude Hill as an accessory in Bennett's murder.

"A person that committed an act that was just as heinous and just as harmful and hurtful to the victim family that the judge can only meet out five years," said Matt Maciarello, Wicomico Co. State's Attorney.

While the change won't bring back Whitney or Christine, Lynn admits it's a step forward.

"You'll never really have closure, but at this point on you can go on [with your life]," said Dodenhoff. "[The Sheddy-Bennett Act] is worth it. She didn't die for nothing."

Steven Akers, who is also charged as an accessory to murder in the death of Whitney Bennett, will face trial on Tuesday.

The Sheddy-Bennett Act will take effect in October.

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