It's the time of year when the city council and mayor create a "legislative wish list." It's a list of laws and changes to current laws that they will ask the city lobbyist to fight for when Nebraska lawmakers convene in January.
One of the items on the list focuses on witness tampering, making the penalties for doing that much worse than they currently are. State Senator Justin Wayne tells 6 News that families of victims are getting fed up when intimidation keeps them from justice. "We have to make sure they don't witness tamper their way out of a crime. Particularly on the murders, manslaughters, robberies. Again, on a robbery you could face 20 years, but If I go witness tampering, I only face two."
Two months ago a key witness changed her story in a murder case, and Larry Goynes walked out of prison a free man. Goynes was accused or robbing and shooting Kyle LeFlore in January and investigators believe someone threatened the witness.
LeFlore, an Army sergeant, was in Omaha on leave from the military. He survived battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan only to be shot at home after being robbed of his gold chains outside a lounge.
His family wants to be a spark for change in the justice system. "There's so many ways you can threaten people nowadays. On the phone, social media... Something has to be changed. We're not winning this war. We're losing it," Kay LeFlore said.
Sen. Wayne will introduce a bill in the legislature in January to strengthen the penalty for witness tampering. He says a murder conviction earns a person life in prison. Getting away with it and being caught for witness tampering doesn't have as hefty a price tag. "You're only looking at two years or less. So there's actually an incentive now to witness tampering, and I want to take that away," Wayne said.
How to do that is still being debated.
Jason Devers, who is also accused in LeFlore's murder, will still face murder charges in December because investigators said there is physical evidence linking him to the crime.