Arik and Megan Matson

Waseca Officer Arik Matson said during a press conference in St. Paul in January that his case will undoubtedly not be the last time a person attempts to kill a peace officer, which is why legislation that increases the sentencing for such a crime is of vital importance. State Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault) and Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) are leading the effort to pass the bill in their respective chambers this session. (Senate Media Services)

Legislation strengthening criminal penalties for the attempted murder of a police officer, judge, prosecutor and correctional officer is headed to the Senate floor for a vote.

The Minnesota Senate Finance Committee passed Senate File 82, sponsored by Faribault Republican Sen. John Jasinski in honor of Waseca police officer Arik Matson, on Friday. The bill would increase the maximum sentence from 20 years to 25 years for great bodily harm, and if the assault causes great bodily harm and was committed with deadly force or using a dangerous weapon, from 20 to 30 years. The bill has already received the OK from the Senate’s judiciary and public safety committee.

“This is a common sense, pro-public safety measure that honors Officer Matson’s service — and the service of every law enforcement officer — by showing the community’s strong support for police and the tough work they do every day,” Jasinski said in a statement.

The bill wouldn’t cost or save the state money in the next few fiscal years. If the historical trend of the crime occurring about every 10 years continues, a lengthier sentence would result in the need for one additional prison bed starting in the 2032 fiscal year and two beds starting in the 2042 fiscal year, for a cost of $32,000, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

Matson has testified before the Senate in favor of the legislation. Matson was shot in the head and critically wounded in January 2020 while responding to a report of a suspicious person. State law requires Tyler Robert Janovsky to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence with the remainder potentially being supervised release.

Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius, along with Arik and Megan Matson, said after Janovsky’s sentencing that they intended to work with legislators to strengthen the criminal penalties.

“After prosecuting the case for the attempted murder of Officers Arik Matson, Office Andrew Harren and Sgt. Tim Schroeder, it was clear there was a glaring gap in our current statutes,” Cornelius said during a press conference announcing the legislation in January.

Reach Associate Editor Lisa Kaczke at 507-444-2371. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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