Why Gov. Stitt should sign bill to protect victims of domestic violence, human trafficking

By David Safavian and Helen Weston, The Oklahoman | April 18, 2024

Stoneleigh Fellow Sara Kruzan was featured by The Oklahoman in a story about new Oklahoma legislation that would individualize sentences for people who commit crimes against their abusers.

At just 13 years old, Sara Kruzan became a victim of the human trafficking industry ― forced to be a slave to her abuser, G.G. Howard. Three years later, she killed Howard to escape her plight. Kruzan was then tried as an adult and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Her sentence was later commuted to 25 years by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and she was pardoned in 2022. She walks free today, but she will never get those 25 years of her life back.

Last year, Kruzan’s story got the attention of state Rep. Marilyn Stark, who drafted legislation that allowed minor victims of sex trafficking to use their abuse of evidence during their sentencing hearing to get a reduced sentence.

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