U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced he will file legislation to block serial killers and murderers from profiting off their crimes. Most recently, a letter signed by Fort Hood shooter Nadal Hasan sold for half a million dollars online.
A lock of hair from Charles Manson, a piece of John Wayne Gacy's clothing, another serial killer's deodorant, even fingernail clippings… the chilling items are going for hundreds, some thousands of dollars online.
According to U.S. Senator John Cornyn, some of that money goes back to the criminal.
"This makes things much more difficult for people who deserve the right to come to terms with the tragedy in their own way and try to move on with their lives," he said.
Veronica Ferren's family member was murdered 12 years ago.
"It's very disturbing. I find it very disgusting," Ferren said.
She attended a round table discussion with Cornyn and others involved in victims' rights groups Friday.
"To see the financial impact and ruin left behind on the family members it's appalling to think a criminal could actually profit from such a thing."
To stop the sale of murderabilia as it's called, Senator Cornyn announced he will file legislation that would prohibit convicted felons collecting a profit. It would also ban them from mailing items to others who could make a profit. Cornyn hopes the law will cripple the industry.
"This really is targeted at the dark side of the internet," Cornyn said.
If an inmate were to violate the law, he or she would receive an extended sentence. According to Cornyn 40 states currently have a version of the law. Texas enacted one in 1979, but it was repealed in 1983.
Cornyn was unsuccessful in getting a federal law passed three years ago. As he gives it another shot, he will have the support of these victims' families.
"If you can stop it, it stops the notoriety. Trying to claim fame for the crimes they've committed," said Ferren. "It really means a lot to the surviving family members."
The murderabilia you saw at the news conference today was actually purchased by a Houston police officer so that he could prevent others from getting his hands on it. Those against the law claim it would violate a person's first amendment rights.