BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Herndon Junior Self was stabbed to death in Cullman on September 12, 2020 and now his family is pushing for change.
“It has devastated our family," Self’s niece, Rachel Cone said. “Junior was a very fun loving guy. He was always laughing and cutting up. He brought a smile to everyone. Everyone can share a memory about things that he would do that would make you laugh.”
The family of Herndon Junior Self held a vigil to share stories and honor his memory, but the gathering was also a push for change.
“We are also here to bring attention to the 2015 mandatory release law and the flaws within this law that allowed the suspect of our uncles murder, Herndon Junior Self, to be released early,” Cone said.
That law allows for certain inmates to be released from prison early, based upon the length of their sentence.
“We want this criteria to be changed," Cone said. “We want there to be more specific guidelines on who is able to be released due to this law, so that this doesn’t happen again to anyone else’s family. We want the law changed. We want specific criteria in place so that this kind of situation doesn’t occur again.”
Cone said the man accused of murdering her uncle was released from prison two days before Self’s death.
“We have written a letter and addressed to the legislative delegation asking for their collaboration to help us amend this law," Cone said. “We have also reached out to several representatives and right now we are just on standstill and standby to see what is going to happen.”
Cone said the family is teaming up with another advocate for legislative change, Angela Harris. Harris is the mother of Aniah Blanchard, a 19 year old girl who was murdered last year.
“Violent offenders, they just keep re- offending,” Harris said. "It is happening more and more, that they are getting out on bond and they don’t need to be out.”
The man accused of killing Aniah was out on bond at the time of her murder. Harris is now pushing for “Aniah’s Law”. It will allow judges to deny bond for all violent offenses.
“It is needed and I am so happy that everybody recognizes that and everybody wants to be a part of it," Harris said.
“We cant get closure, even though the suspect has been caught, we will not feel closure until they change this law,” Cone said.