Six months after the triple slaying in Cheshire, the Connecticut House of Representatives approved comprehensive reforms to the state’s criminal laws early Wednesday, including a new crime of “home invasion” for anyone who breaks into an occupied home, reports the Hartford Courant. Lawmakers had struggled over the wording for the new crime bill in recent days, but Democrats who control the legislature eventually agreed Tuesday to approve the tougher version that had been pushed by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Home invasion, such as the one that occurred in Cheshire, would now be a Class A felony that guarantees a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years. The act would now be considered a violent crime — meaning those convicted would be required to serve 85 percent of their sentences. The overall bill was approved 36 to 0 in the state Senate on Tuesday and by 126 to 12 in the House at about 2:40 a.m. Wednesday. The most contentious issue of the one-day special session was a sharp disagreement over whether to enact a “three-strikes” law that would carry an automatic sentence of life in prison for criminals who commit three violent felonies. Ultimately, it was rejected by both houses of the legislature.