King family won’t sue state

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The parents of slain Poway High School senior Chelsea King announced Friday that they will not sue the state of California over their daughter's rape and murder last year at the hands of a parole-violating sex offender.

“There's nothing that will bring your daughter back,” Brent King told reporters during a news conference at a Rancho Bernardo hotel.

Instead of undergoing a court process that would “remind us of the pain and tragedy” of their daughter's death, King said he and his wife, Kelly, will keep pushing for legal-system reforms they have pursued in the months since the 17-year-old honor student's slaying.

“If we were to sue and receive any (monetary damages) …, would change actually occur because of that?” he asked rhetorically. “Wouldn't it be better to actually change the system?”

The Kings' efforts led to the passage last August of Chelsea's Law. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, requires a life sentence without the possibility of parole for forcible sex acts against minors. It also tightens sex offense parole guidelines and requires lifelong tracking of certain sex offenders.

“We have a responsibility in our minds to other parents, to children, to the 36,000 Californians that signed to support Chelsea's Law through the petitions that we asked them to sign, to make sure that Chelsea's Law doesn't just become another law that doesn't get enforced,” Brent King said.

Kelly King said the couple's main priority, besides the welfare of their teenage son, Tyler, is “to do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen to our kids (ever again).”

Chelsea was jogging near Lake Hodges last Feb. 25 when 30-year-old registered sex offender John Albert Gardner attacked her. After raping and strangling her, he buried her body in a shallow grave, where it was found by searchers five days later.

Gardner pleaded guilty in April to the murders of Chelsea and 14-year- old Escondido High student Amber Dubois, who disappeared while walking to school in February 2009.

Gardner was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Categories: KUSI