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Young pushes for passage of violent felon registry

OLEAN – The death of Shannon Pepper in a fire Saturday in her apartment in Cuba prompted State Sen. Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean) to vow on Monday to fight for passage of Brittany’s Law by the State Assembly to create a state-operated registry of violent felony offenders similar to the state’s highly successful sex offender registry.

Pepper, 37, became an outspoken advocate for domestic violence victims after helping Cattaraugus County District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman to put Pepper’s own violent abuser, her live-in boyfriend Anthony Nevone, in prison for two decades after he attacked her in 2103. Young said State Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda) has agreed to help her. She said she found “no logical reason why the Assembly has repeatedly blocked this important legislation” named in honored of the late Brittany Passalacqua who was murdered with her mother in Geneva in 2009.

Pepper’s attacker was on parole for assaulting a prior girlfriend, and Brittany’s Law likely would have deterred him from the two-day attack that left Pepper comatose for several months, Young said.

Pepper was killed when flames erupted early Saturday in the 48-unit low-income apartment complex in which she lived on Bristol Street in the Village of Cuba in Allegany County. She died of smoke inhalation, according to an autopsy.