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ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The man who spurred a change in Tennessee law involving child death cases has been released from prison.

The Kingsport Times News reports 48-year-old Kerry Phillip Bowers was released from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Friday after serving more than 26 years of a 36-year sentence.

He was convicted in Hawkins County in 1987 of killing 2-year-old Scotty Trexler.

At the time, state law required intent or premeditation in order for a defendant to be charged with first-degree murder. Bowers was convicted of second-degree murder.

The case led to passage of the Scotty Trexler Law in 1988 which says that anyone who kills a child through abuse shall be charged with first-degree murder.

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