LARGO - Jessie's Ride, a three wheeled motor bike, or trike, was on display June 14 at the Largo Cultural Center during the Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot rock concert. The vehicle is being displayed nationwide in a cross country campaign to lobby for stronger sex offender legislation. Jessie's Ride has been aired on TV and featured in numerous national magazines.
The "trike" is a custom chopper built by Santiago Chopper Specialties of Tampa Bay. Santiago created the trike for Mark Lunsford a motor cycle enthusiast and father of Jessica Lunsford, the 9 year old Homosassa girl that was murdered by a convicted sex offender in February 2005. The trike is detailed in Jessica's favorite colors of pink and purple along with her image and playful dolphins.
Jessica was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered by the Lunsford family's neighbor, John Couey. Couey, a registered sex offender was charged with capital murder, burglary with battery, kidnapping and sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.
Couey's trial will be held in Citrus County starting July 10.
Since her death, "Jessica's Law" was written. It refers to the Jessica Lunsford Act passed in Florida which mandates at least 25 years in prison for a convicted sexual predator against a child under 12 and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking for life once they're released.
Gov. Jeb Bush approved the Jessica Lunsford Act in May 2006.
Mark Lunsford has said he intends to use the trike to further his work to protect children and to garner greater awareness toward strengthening the laws governing child predators.
He said his goal is to change the laws in every state.
Lunsford and Santiago Chopper are also displaying the trike in several major bike shows throughout the year. It has won numerous awards at shows on the bike circuit.
"Jessie's Riders," a group of bikers Mark Lunsford started in his daughter's honor, are motorcyclists dedicated to lobby for out-of-state legislation. According to their website, predators are forewarned:
With the light comes the dark; Jessie's Riders embark. For those who shall touch the wing of a dove shall not find forgiveness nor experience love. He of great strength over the little innocence among us, fall unto our mission. Our namesake was your last, your judgment comes fast. Your time is short, your shelters few...
Jessie's Riders is coming for you.
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