State Rep. John Sabatina (D–Phila) recently introduced legislation that would toughen the penalty for home invasions in Pennsylvania, and he's calling on his colleagues to support the measure.
House Bill 1296 would classify home invasion as a first-degree felony with a mandatory minimum penalty of five years at a maximum security prison.
The law would mandate a minimum sentence of 10 years' incarceration if the crime is a second offense or if the victim is over 62 years old.
"Earlier this year, there was a deadly home invasion in Bucks County, and shortly after that, there was an assault committed against a senior citizen in the midst of a home invasion in Mayfair," Sabatina said in a statement.
"And just under a month ago, a criminal broke into the home of a 63-year-old woman and sexually assaulted her before attacking her with a hammer and fleeing. It’s time that we stop putting up with these violent criminals and ensure that the sentence they receive fits the crime they’ve committed."
Sabatina's legislation would allow suspects to be convicted of a home invasion if the suspect "knowingly enters, attempts to enter or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime of violence."
The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
Sabatina said in a release he will soon be holding a press conference with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and District Attorney Seth Williams regarding the legislation.