DALLAS — State Representative Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) filed legislation in response to the tragic October 2022 shooting at Methodist Hospital Dallas.
Anchia named two of the bills after Jacqueline Pokuaa and Annette Flowers, the two hospital workers killed during that shooting.
The suspect, Nestor Hernandez, was on parole and wearing an ankle monitor when it happened.
Lawmakers and law enforcement officials were outraged that Hernandez was on the streets since he had violated his parole multiple times by failing drug tests, missing curfew and cutting off his ankle monitor.
It is not a crime in Texas to cut off an ankle monitor. The Pokuaa and Flowers law would make it a felony to do that.
“I had no idea it was not already massively illegal to cut off your ankle monitor. This would make it so nobody that cuts off an ankle monitor, regardless of the type, is going to serve not only the rest of their sentence but also going to be charged with a state jail felony,” said Anchia.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia has been pushing for changes, saying the system failed.
"The lack of accountability is costing us lives, it cost us Jackie, Katie and others. It will take all of us working together to get this bill passed and signed into law to further protect our city,” said Garcia.
Police said Hernandez beat his girlfriend after she had just given birth to their baby.
In an exclusive interview with WFAA in February, his girlfriend, Selena Villatoro, said he was drunk and turned violent beating her while she held the baby.
“He was so close and he could have hit him and he could have died. It was crazy. I don’t know why he did it, and I kept asking him, 'Why did you do this?'” said Villatoro.
Villatoro said Hernandez walked to the door and shot caseworker, Pokuaa, and nurse Flowers after threatening to kill anyone who walked through the door.
Their murders outraged the community, police and lawmakers wondered why Hernandez’ parole wasn’t revoked.
Hernandez had permission from his parole officer to be at the hospital but no one told hospital police he would be there. Another proposed law would change that -- it's called the Jacqueline Pokuaa and Katie Annette Flowers Act.
"Hospitals would have to be notified by the board of pardon and paroles when an offender steps foot in their buildings,” said Anchia.
While Hernandez is charged with capital murder in the hospital workers' deaths, a new law would make it a third-degree felony to assault any hospital employee.
"We know somedays emotions run high, but we need a safe place for the patients, the patients families and of course our health care workers,” said Steven Love, president and CEO of Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.
Anchia said the bills are a way to try and prevent something like this from happening again.