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Chelsea King's parents want changes in sex offender laws

March 5, 2010 |  8:01 am

The parents of Chelsea King said they will fight for changes in sex-offender laws as a result of their daughter's slaying.

Chelsea, 17, was raped and killed, allegedly by a registered sex offender now in custody. She was last seen jogging around a lake near her home in San Diego County.

Brent King, her father, said on two morning TV new shows Friday that laws need to be changed so that registered sex offenders are restricted from being around children.

"Kids [need to be] kids and be safe," Brent King told NBC's "Today" show. "And predators should not be allowed within their reach."

The suspect, John Albert Gardner III, 30, was charged Wednesday and faces the death penalty if convicted of murder. Authorities said DNA from semen found on Chelsea's clothing linked him to the crime.

 Gardner, 6 feet 2 and weighing 230 pounds, pleaded guilty in 2000 to molesting a 13-year-old girl.

A psychiatrist at the time recommended that Gardner be given the maximum sentence of at least 10 years in prison. San Diego County prosecutors recommended a six-year term. "It is my opinion that [the defendant] would be a continued danger to underage [girls] in the community," said the psychiatrist in the court documents.

According to the Megan's Law website, Gardner lived in Lake Elsinore, in Riverside County, but was visiting his mother in San Diego County last week.

Brent King told NBC he will have more to say about specific changes in the law at a later date.

His wife, Kelly, said current law "lets every child in this country down."

The couple said their 13-year-old son has taken his sister's killing particularly hard but that he's heartened by the outpouring of support from the community.

Photo: Brent King and his wife, Kelly, and their son thank a gathering of about 4,000 people Tuesday at St. Michael's Church for their help and prayers. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times