Murder Victim's Mom Fights for GPS Stalker Law

Diana Ross says the 2010 law is too weak on GPS tracking

March 13, 2012— -- In the months following her daughter's murder, Diana Ross knew she had to do something to protect other victims of domestic violence.

On Sept. 11, 2009, Ross' daughter, Amanda, was shot to death outside her Lexington, Ky., apartment by her ex-fiancé, Stephen Nunn. Nunn was a former Kentucky state legislator who championed laws protecting victims of domestic violence.

Shortly after Amanda Ross and Nunn got engaged, violence escalated in their relationship.

In February 2009 Ross filed for an emergency protection order against Nunn. Nunn continued stalking her for months, culminating in the incident in September, when Nunn shot Amanda as she left for work.

PHOTOS: Steve Nunn and Amanda Ross

Nunn was prosecuted under the same domestic-violence law he had helped pass years before, and sentenced to life behind bars without the chance of parole.

For Diana Ross, this wasn't enough. She set out to give her daughter's life a legacy in the form of a more protective domestic-violence law, to be called Amanda's Law.

"We felt like we needed to make changes for other people, so it would benefit future victims of domestic violence," said Diana Ross.

The law, sponsored by Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, passed in 2010. It expands the use of GPS tracking devices to protect victims of domestic violence from their past attackers.

However, the law that passed was not as strong as what Ross and Stumbo had advocated.

"It's not effective right now," said Ross. "The judges are not using it yet. And it's my fear that it's going to take another high-profile murder to get the attention."

Ross said the law wasn't effective because it does too little, too late: Judges can invoke it on a case-by-case basis after a protective order has been violated.

Ross and Stumbo are working to change the law so that victims of domestic violence, including dating partners, can get a GPS bracelet that alerts them when their past attacker is within a certain distance from them.

Diana Ross played a central role in the creation of "Amanda's bill," new state legislation that would require those served with orders of protection to wear a tracking device so police -- and potential victims -- can keep tabs on their whereabouts.

According to the federal Electronic Monitoring Resource Center at Denver University, 12 states currently have laws allowing judges to order people to wear GPS monitors that send an alarm to victims and police if the perpetrator enters areas restricted by the order of protection.

Ross said such a bracelet could have saved her daughter's life.

"Amanda, she would have never walked out the door that morning," said Ross. "She would have known that he was out there because she also could have worn a bracelet that would have warned her, rather than a phone call. She would have been warned that he was out there in her area."

Ross said it's her mission to help protect as many "Amandas" as she can.

"It will definitely save lives if you know that person," said Ross. "You have a fighting chance if you know that person is in your area -- you can at least do something to protect yourself."