Rebecca Petty

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Rebecca Dean Petty​


Arkansas State Representative
for District 94​ (Benton County)
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 1, 2015​​
Preceded by Debra Hobbs

Born December 28, 1970​​
Wichita, Kansas, USA​
Political party Republican​​
Spouse(s) Gregory Scott "Greg" Brewer (divorced)

William Petty

Children Andria "Andi" Nichole Brewer (murdered 1999)​​
Residence Rogers, Benton County
Arkansas, USA​
Alma mater Tulsa (Oklahoma) Community College​

Arkansas Tech University
John Brown University​​

Occupation Advocate for crime victims and exploited children​
Religion Non-denominational Christian

Rebecca Dean Petty, sometimes cited as Rebecca Dean Demauro (born December 28, 1970),[1] is an advocate for victims of violent crime who resides in Rogers, Arkansas. Her 12-year-old daughter was murdered in 1999, and she has long sought to have the killer executed. She is also a Republican state representative for District 94 (Benton County) in the northwestern portion of her adopted state.[2]​ She is serving her third two-year term.

Background

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Petty.[3]​ attended Tulsa Community College in Tulsa, Oklahoma, dates not available,[3] and earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2013 from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, at which she was an inductee of Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. She then obtained a master's degree in leadership and ethics at the private John Brown University in Siloam Springs, also in Benton County. She lists her religious affiliation as a non-denominational Christian.[2]

Career

Daughter's murder

Petty's daughter, Andria Nichole "Andi" Brewer (1987-1999), was raped and strangled to death in the forest near Mena in Polk County in western Arkansas by Karl Douglas Roberts (born c. 1967), the child's uncle by marriage. She had been in Mena babysitting her stepsiblings. On May 24, 2000, Roberts was sentenced to die but twenty years thereafter remains on death row in Arkansas. [4]

Petty's former husband, Gregory Scott "Greg" Brewer (born 1969), the daughter's father, tried to attack Roberts in the courtroom during proceedings in the case in December 2014. Roberts, for whom there were questions about his mental competency, sought to waive his constitutional rights and be executed for the crime.[5] At the time of her daughter's murder, Petty was divorced from Brewer.[6] Roberts came close to execution in 2004, when he reneged on the promise to waive his constitutional rights. Petty has long sought to accelerate executions for those lingering for years on death row but has run into opposition from opponents of the death penalty. In 2015, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, signed legislation to permit up to six family members to view executions from an adjacent room and as many as twelve persons to watch from a private room via satellite feed. The legislation came after Petty accused the criminal justice system of ignoring the rights of the victims whose "lives have been stolen."[7]

Political life

​ From 2000 to 2008, Petty was the executive director of The Andi Foundation for Children. Since 2009, she has been a Crime Victim/Child Advocate consultant for the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin.[3] She is a founding member of the Surviving Parents Coalition, a group with fights child predators.[2] Petty also works with the United States Department of Justice on training for Amber Alerts. She advocates "keeping our children safe from sexual predators by equipping our police with the tools they need to put criminals behind bars."[8] Petty's work on behalf of exploited children brought her into contact with John Walsh, host of the former television series, America's Most Wanted. In 2006, she joined Walsh in lobbying for appropriations for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.[9]

Petty is active in the Benton County Republican organization. In the extremely low-turnout primary held on May 20, 2014, she defeated Margaret "Marge" Wolf (born c. 1944), a former Wisconsin resident and a then member of the Rogers City Council and the president of the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank,[8] a position she gave up in 2015. Petty polled 878 votes (55.3 percent) to Wolf's 710 (44.7 percent). The House seat was vacated by the term-limited Republican Debra Hobbs, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor; Hobbs was defeated in that race by John Timothy "Tim" Griffin, the former U. S. Representative for Arkansas's 2nd congressional district. Petty carried the endorsement of influential state Senator Bart Hester of Cave Springs.[8]

In the November 4 general election, Petty easily defeated the Democratic nominee, George Grimsley Graham (born 1948), an English teacher at Rogers High School for thirty years,[10] 3,508 votes (57.8 percent) to 2,565 (42.2 percent), in a heavily Republican year statewide and nationally.[11]

Representative Petty holds these committee assignments: (1) Joint Committee on Advanced Commutations and Information Technology, (2) Judiciary, and (3) Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative, and Military Affairs.[2] In January 2015, Petty proposed legislation before the House Judiciary Committee to allow families of murder victims to witness the executions of the convicted criminals so as to gain some closure to their grief.[12] The legislation passed both houses and was soon signed into law by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.[13] The next month Petty proposed legislation to allow executions in Arkansas by firing squad.[13]

Petty joined dozens of her fellow Republicans and two Democrats in co-sponsoring legislation in February 2015 submitted by Representative Lane Jean of Magnolia, to reduce unemployment compensation benefits. The measure was promptly signed into law by Governor Hutchinson.[14]

Petty that same month, she supported House Bill 1228, sponsored by Republican Bob Ballinger of Carroll County, which sought to prohibit government from imposing a burden on the free exercise of religion.[15] The measure passed the House, seventy-two to twenty.[15] One of the opponents, Representative Camille Bennett, a former city attorney for Lonoke, Arkansas, called for a reworking of the legislation.[16] Bennett claimed the Ballinger bill would establish a "type of religious litmus test" which could impact nearly any law under consideration by the legislature.[17] The measure was subsequently passed by a large margin in the House and signed into law in revised form, SB 975, by Governor Hutchinson.[18]

References

  1. Rebecca Petty. Mylife.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Rebecca Petty. Arkansas House of Representatives. Retrieved on July 12, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Rebecca Petty's Biography. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  4. Pooja Salvi (February 25, 2020). Karl Roberts, who brutally raped and murdered his 12-year-old niece Andi Brewer alive and well 20 years after conviction. meaww.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  5. Shain Bergan (December 29, 2014). Man Tries to Attack Daughter's Killer in Polk County Courtroom. KFSM-TV. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  6. Victim: Andi Brewer. prodeathpenalty.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  7. Valerie Richardson (April 12, 2017). Rebecca Petty, Arkansas lawmaker whose daughter was murdered, sees executions as end of long wait. The Washington Times. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Larry Henry (February 6, 2014). Child Advocate Rebecca Petty Seeks State House Seat. KFSM-TV. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  9. Rebecca Petty for Arkansas State Representative. rebeccapetty.blogspot.com (February 7, 2014). Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  10. Ellen Thalls (October 22, 2014). Graham, Petty Square Off in Rogers State House Race. KFSM-TV. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  11. District 94. ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  12. Curt Lanning (January 29, 2015). Rep. Petty Presents Bill To Allow Crime Victim Families To Watch Executions In Person. KFSM-TV. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Curt Lanning (February 26, 2015). Mother of Slain Child Proposed Firing Squad Execution Bill. KFSM-TV. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  14. HB 1489 - Reduces Unemployment Benefits - Key Vote. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on December 10, 2020.
  15. 15.0 15.1 HB 1228. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on July 11, 2020.
  16. "Indiana, Arkansas try to stem religious objections uproar," Atlantic Broadband, April 3, 2015.
  17. name=religiousfreedom>Opponents of Religious Freedom Bill Point Out Law Differences, Possible Unintended Consequences. Fox Channel 16 (April 1, 2015). Retrieved on April 14, 2015; material no longer on-line.
  18. Gov. Hutchinson signs revised religious freedom bill; HB 1228 recalled. KTHV-TV (April 2, 2015). Retrieved on April 14, 2015; no longer accessible on-line.

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