Emma's Law Passes Texas Senate

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Her death was shocking; it was gruesome and it ripped a family apart.

“Emma, her sister and I were very close and I was very close to my sister,” said Amanda Mathews, Emma Thompson’s aunt.

Emma Thompson was only four years old when her mother’s boyfriend Lucas Coe raped and brutally beat her to death.

The nature of the crime, the things they did to Emma and the fact my sister tried to protect Lucas Coe,” explained Mathews. “All is stated in the court documents, all the feelings of what she went through the last few days of her life, and it just kills m. She was 4. She was a baby.”

Amanda Mathews testified against her own sister so that little Emma would have a voice.

"The day i decided to stand up for Emma's justice and testify against my sister and her boyfriend, I lost my entire family,” explained Mathews. “But I don’t regret one moment. I did what was right.”

Both Coe and Emma's mother -- Abigail Young -- were convicted. Coe was sentenced to life in prison.
Young was found guilty of reckless injury to a child, a third-degree felony. Since her death the family has been trying to change the law and Thursday the Texas Senate passed what's called House Bill 431, or Emma’s Law.

Only first-degree felonies are on a list of offenses from which the Texas Parole Board is given latitude to set off parole hearing dates for up to five years.

“My sister who I no longer have contact with has only served for 3 years,” said Mathews. “She came up for parole only 18 months after her sentencing and she's up for parole now. If the inmates are on good behavior, they’ll be considered for parole faster, and that’s what’s happened in this case. Abigail has been considered twice and she’s only been in prison for three years.”

The only thing left is a signature from Governor Rick Perry. Mathews says the passing will allow the family to finally heal now that they know justice for Emma has finally prevailed.

If signed by Governor Perry, Emma's Law would make the annual review go away.


A bill named after four-year-old Emma Thompson who was murdered in 2009 after being beaten by her mother's boyfriend has passed the Texas Senate.

House Bill 431 is now waiting for Governor Rick Perry's signature.

As the law stands now, Emma's mother, Abigail Young, a former Brenham nurse is considered for parole on an annual basis.

If signed by Governor Perry, Emma's Law would make the annual review go away.

If passed, Emma's Law would make anyone convicted of a felony against a child eligible for parole every five years instead of once every year.

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