Wednesday, February 26, 1997
Killer's move spurs call
for notification law

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - The police department caught off guard by convicted killer Todd Ice's surprise move to Northern Kentucky last year will ask Friday for a state law to make it impossible for such a thing to happen again.

Covington's assistant police chief, Lt. Col. Bill Dorsey, told The Enquirer he will ask the panel of state legislators and mental-health professionals studying the controversy to pattern Florida's notification law.

Florida law, he said, requires jails and the state Department of Corrections to notify all victims - and anyone else who places their name on a list - when a convict is transfered or released.

A Kentucky version should say that all victims - or next-of-kin in cases where victims are dead - of murder, rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse and any assault on a juvenile should be notified when their attacker is released, Lt. Col. Dorsey said.

The community to which the convict moves should be told by notifying the proper police department, he said.

''We're naming specific crimes for a reason,'' the assistant chief said. ''In these crimes, there are real victims, some of whom cannot protect themselves.''

The task force, led by Laura Douglas, secretary of the state Cabinet for Public Protection and Regulation, was formed to find a compromise between the public's desire for notification against the rights to privacy of those who have served their time.

The task force meets from 10 a.m. to noon Friday in Covington's city commission chambers at 638 Madison Ave. to collect suggestions and comments.

Mr. Ice was convicted of killing a 7-year-old Powell County neighbor, Donna Knox, in 1978, and cutting the throat of her mother, Sheila Knox, who survived. He was 15 at the time.

He became the youngest person ever sentenced to Death Row in the state, but that was overturned upon appeal. Instead, he served 15 years behind bars for the crime, and then two more at Central State Hospital, a mental-health facility in Louisville. The state moved Mr. Ice to the Covington halfway house as a way of easing him back into society.

An uproar ensued when he arrived in Covington in mid-March of last year to live in a Hermes Street apartment in a program affiliated with Comprehensive Care, a local mental health organization.

It captured national attention when the CBS News magazine 60 Minutes focused on the Ice case. Mr. Ice was quickly relocated elsewhere in the state and has since moved to an undisclosed location outside Kentucky.

Covington was not notified when Mr. Ice was relocated here because he was mentally ill and had completed both his prison sentence and mental-health treatment.

But Lt. Col. Dorsey said he will argue to the task force that police departments, as well as victims, need to be kept informed of such decisions.

''I don't think that's unfair,'' he said.