Jurors: Megan Kanka's killer should die
June 20, 1997
TRENTON, New Jersey (CNN) -- Jurors recommended death Friday for the man who raped and killed 7-year-old Megan Kanka. Her murder led to a nationwide movement to protect children from sexual predators.
The six-man, six-woman jury returned its decision after deliberating the fate of Jesse Timmendequas, 36, for more than 10 hours.
The same jury ruled last month that Timmendequas, a previously convicted sex offender, had killed Megan "by his own conduct, purposely or knowingly." Jurors found him guilty of kidnapping, four counts of aggravated sexual assault and two felony murder counts.
Prosecutors had argued that Timmendequas showed no remorse for the crime and deserved to die for his actions. The defense had argued its client was abused as a child and suffered from mental problems.
According to prosecutors, on July 29, 1994, Timmendequas lured Megan into his house across the street from hers to see a puppy. He then raped her, beat her and strangled her with a belt. A day later, he led police to the body in a nearby park.
After the murder, the Kanka family and its neighbors were outraged, because they were never informed that Timmendequas had two previous sex convictions. He was convicted in a 1981 attack on a 5-year-old child and an attempted sexual assault on a 7-year-old child.
Megan's mother and father then campaigned for laws to require that neighbors be notified when sex criminals move into an area after they have served their time in prison.
Versions of "Megan's Law" were passed in New Jersey and nearly every other state, and a federal law was signed by President Clinton in 1996.
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