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Quinn Signs ‘Rebecca’s Law’ Stiffening Penalties For Torturers

Rebecca Mercado

Rebecca Mercado was held hostage and tortured by her husband, but he was only sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. (Credit: Will County State’s Attorney’s office)

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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that will toughen the penalties for abusers who torture their victims, after a man who brutally tortured his wife ended up being sentenced to just 4 1/2 years in prison.

Quinn signed the legislation known as Rebecca’s Law over the weekend. The bill was drafted by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, and named after Rebecca Mercado of Joliet, who was beaten and tortured by her husband.

Over two days in July 2009, Mercado was held hostage in her own home by her then-husband, and beaten repeatedly with a metal broom and a piece of wood until she passed out. Her husband was convicted, but sentenced to just 4 1/2 years behind bars, which was nearly the maximum allowed at the time, according to Glasgow’s office.

The new law increases sentences for battery cases involving torture to a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 15, and enhances the seriousness of the offense from a Class 3 felony to a Class 1 felony, according to Glasgow’s office.

The maximum penalty had been 5 years in prison.