The family of a woman killed at a central Arkansas rest stop lost an appeal before the state Legislature this morning as it tried for a second time to hold the state liable for her death. Twenty-five year old Kristin Laurite was stabbed to death at a rest area on westbound Interstate 40 near Morrilton. Her killer has never been caught. The Arkansas Claims Commission, which considers accusations against the state, held in April that the State Highway and Transportation Department did not act with malice when it failed to close the rest area or strictly maintain safety there. A legislative committee that reviews Claims Commission cases rejected her family`s appeal this morning. Laurite`s family says the state should have closed the area long before she stopped there on August 25th 2000. The family sought three (m) million dollars in damages and loses. Under state law, any appeal goes through the Legislature, and a panel took up the case today. Laurite`s mother, Lynn Di`Benedeto, said it`s not about the money, it`s about the highway department not taking responsibility for the rest stop. Hot Springs Representative Bob Mathis suggested the state award the family one (m) million dollars, but could not get a second motion. Rogers Senator Dave Bisbee said the family had not proven a connection between the killing and the state. A motion to deny the appeal passed on a voice vote. The commission said previously that the highway department was negligent by not closing the rest area, but that its inaction was not malicious and, therefore, the state couldn`t be held liable. --- dash --- Security cameras were down for maintenance at the time of the killing. The Claims Commission said the rest stop is classified as recreational land and that its operators owe no duty of care to keep the premises safe. An exception is made for a malicious failure to guard against ultra-hazardous conditions or if the landowner charges an admission fee. Admission to state rest areas is free. Before Laurite`s slaying, the state considered closing half of its 34 rest areas, including the Morrilton site, for economic or security reasons. The highway department has said public opposition prompted the state to keep the areas open with increased security measures. --- dash --- In 1997, 71-year-old truck driver Arthur Joe Cotton of Sheridan, was found with a bullet in his head in the bathroom of the rest area on the eastbound lanes near Morrilton. Two half-brothers from West Virginia were convicted of the murder.