PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A local district attorney and state representative are teaming up to change the law in Pennsylvania when it comes to a specific crime.
They're doing this in response to a case involving Washington County couple Kylie Wilt and Alan Hollis, who are accused of hiding their dead baby's body in a wall inside their Charleroi home.
Baby Archer's body was found last November, months after investigators believe he was placed inside the wall. Washington County District Attorney Jason Walsh initially charged the couple with multiple crimes, including concealing the death of a child, before filing a homicide charge a month later.
When Walsh filed a charge of concealing the death of a child against Wilt and Hollis, he said he was surprised to find out it's only a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. He reached out to State Representative Natalie Mihalek to find out what she could do to help change that.
"It was shocking to me, as we scoured the crimes code, that the most serious thing or crime that could have been charged under those circumstances was a misdemeanor of the second degree of concealing the death of a child," said Walsh. "I thought that was no punishment at all for doing such a horrendous thing, and she was very receptive."
This week, Mihalek announced she intends to introduce legislation that will elevate this kind of conduct to a felony of the second degree when a person is guilty of concealing the death of a child if there are aggravating circumstances.
"The person treats the corpse in a way that the person knows would outrage ordinary family sensibilities," said Mihalek. "We are hoping to honor this baby, who died under just horrific circumstances, by increasing the penalty and increasing the grading of concealment of the death of the child."
Walsh believes doing this could help deter this type of crime from happening again. He said he doesn't want to see someone essentially get off for a crime they commit.
"You'd be rewarding a cover up of a possible homicide because you can get a lesser of a crime. How does that make any sense?" said Walsh.
Mihalek is in the process of gathering co-sponsors for the proposed legislation. She said she hopes she can introduce the legislation sometime soon.
KDKA's Amy Wadas also reached out to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office for a response. The office responded, saying: "Any upgrade of that offense would need to include mental health provisions."
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