Mayor's Office

Press Release


Legislation Would Ban Online Sale of Items Associated With & Benefiting Notorious Murderers, Rapists


June 3, 2010 -- Internet sites nationwide now thrive off of the sale of Murderabilia, including items such as hair samples, blood, clothing, letters, artwork, and other goods bearing the mark or signature of a criminal. And the more notorious the criminal, the higher the price of Murderabilia items associated with him.


Mayor Parker's Crime Victims Office and its director Andy Kahan have been highly engaged in the fight to stop the sale of Murderabilia and have worked with Sen. Cornyn on this effort since 2007.


Joining Sen. Cornyn and Mayor Parker will be Louvon Harris, the sister of James Byrd Jr., who was murdered in Jasper in 1998 by white supremacists. This week marks the 12th anniversary of Mr. Byrd’s murder, which was one of the cases that gave rise to the hate crimes law in Texas and the federal hate crimes law. In April, a Murderabilia web site attempted to sell dirt from Mr. Byrd’s gravesite, as well as a piece of the road on which he was killed. Although the seller of these items eventually removed them from his web site under pressure, his attempted sale of the items demonstrates that Murderabilia trading remains a serious problem that causes emotional suffering to victims’ families.


Kim Ogg, a Houston attorney and nationally recognized criminal law expert, will represent Mayor Parker’s Crime Victims Office at the press conference. Representatives from Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) also plan to attend. Murderabilia items purchased online will be on display.


WHAT: Sen. Cornyn, Houston Mayor Parker To Host Press Conference Announcing Introduction Of Bill To Stop The Sale Of Murderabilia

WHEN: Friday, June 4, 2010 10:50 a.m.
WHERE: Houston City Hall / Proclamation Room / 901 Bagby Houston, TX 77002


Background on Sen. Cornyn’s legislation:

Sen. Cornyn’s legislation seeks to cripple the Murderabilia industry by preventing prisoners from mailing, or having another person mail, any object the prisoner intends to be sold in interstate commerce.  The bill provides a civil remedy to murderabilia victims, allowing them to recover injunctive relief, damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees from violators of the bill and removing the financial incentive for prisoners to sell murderabilia. Sen. Cornyn introduced a previous version of this legislation in 2007. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the lead Democratic cosponsor of the bill.


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Mayor Annise Parker will host a press conference in Houston on Friday, June 4, to announce Sen. Cornyn’s introduction of legislation aimed at stopping the sale of goods associated with murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals, known as "Murderabilia."