LAURENS COUNTY, SC – It’s been six years, but for Emily Joy the memories of her daughter’s murder haven’t faded.
“I was running toward her and all I remember was people grabbing me saying ‘stay back, stay back,'” she recalled. “And I said if she could hear my voice, she would be okay. But she was already dead right then.”
Emily Anna Asbill was 19 years old when Clinton Police told Joy her daughter was strangled in the passenger seat of a vehicle with a USB cord.
Her boyfriend at the time, Michael Beaty Jr. was arrested in her murder and later sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“I just wished I could have saved her,” said Joy.
But with the years of grief came a change of heart for Emily Joy, who decided to use her voice to help other domestic violence victims in South Carolina.
“I don’t want anybody to go through what she went through, or all these other victims here in South Carolina.”
Joy partnered with several others, including a SVU investigator in Laurens County, to author a strangulation bill that would take the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony offense.
“How come a man, or a woman, or anyone, can grab their hands around someone’s throat, cut their airway off, and that person, that victim have a near death experience but it not be charged in the same way?” Investigator Michael Polson told 7 News.
Forty-seven states already have a similar law in place.
Joy said she’s traveled across the state to speak and has testified in front of the General Assembly for the legislation.
A new sense of purpose for the mother, who said she is fueled by the compassion that laid on her daughter’s heart.
“She was always wanting to help somebody. That’s why I do what I do now. Because I know that she would want me to help somebody.”
The bill was filed by Senator Katrina Shealy of District 23 in Lexington County.
In 2018 the legislation made it to the Senate floor but was contested by Senator Tom Corbin, causing the bill to be re-filed.
7News reached out to a request for comment Thursday but did not hear back from Corbin before the time of broadcast.
IF YOU ARE IN A VIOLENT SITUATION AND NEED HELP, CALL 1-800-291-2139 OR 1-800-799-7233. YOU CAN ALSO VISIT SAFE HARBOR’S WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE.