Lawmakers Consider Proposal To Honor Lake Family And Keep Domestic Violence Awareness Up
Lawmakers in Augusta are considering a request to name two bridges in Harmony after a family who was gunned down in Dexter last year.It’s been seven months since Steven Lake shot and killed his estranged wife Amy, and their two children, Coty, and Monica before turning the gun on himself.The incident has shined a light on the issue of domestic violence in Maine. Family and friends of the victims are doing their part to keep domestic violence awareness on everyone’s mind. “It’s a resolve to name two bridges in Harmony,” said Somerset County Senator Doug Thomas who presented the resolve Tuesday. “One of them will be the Amy, Coty, Monica Bridge. It’s in honor of the family that was killed.” The other bridge, which is two miles away, would be called the “Remember Me” bridge. One bridge is on Route 150 the other on Route 154.Family, friends, and members of the community hope to organize an annual walk between the two bridges in memory of the family. Amy Lake’s parents, Ralph and Linda Bagley, gave emotional testimony in front of lawmakers. “They were beautiful grandchildren and they spent a lot of time with us,” Linda Bagley said before telling lawmakers that the last seven months have been very hard. “This year, I didn’t think I could do a Christmas card,” she said. “And it got close Christmas and I said Amy would not want this. I have always sent Christmas cards. And so I got to looking for pictures and I couldn’t put Merry Christmas on it because I knew it wasn’t going to be a merry one for us.”Governor LePage has said curbing domestic violence is near the top of his priority list. Lawmakers appear to be universally on board. They say the story of the Lake family is an example of what can happen if things don’t change. “A year went by between the time this man held his family hostage one night with a gun and he never went to trial. Something has to happen,” Thomas said. “That family lived in absolute terror for the last year. There’s no need of that.”Newport Republican Ken Fredette has introduced a bill that could prevent that sort of thing from happening again. Fredette’s bill, “An Act To Amend the Maine Bail Code To Protect Victims of Domestic Violence,” would give judges more latitude when it comes to granting bail to people accused of a domestic violence related offense. The bill would also require the judge to review and consider the defendantâ€™s criminal history and allows the use of electronic monitoring as a condition of bail for the defendant charged with a crime involving domestic violence. The defendant may be ordered to pay the cost of that monitoring.The hope among the friends and family of the Lake family is that the new names of these bridges will help keep everyone’s eyes open to the horrors of domestic violence. “I think that would help a lot if their names were up there and the sign for domestic violence,” Bagley said. The resolve is expected to pass through the Transportation Committee unanimously and head to the House and Senate for final approval.Representative Fredette’s bill has been sent to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee where they will next schedule a public hearing on the legislation.