A pregnant woman’s fetus died from in a shooting in December 2018 and charged the woman with the death of the fetus. Prosecutors in Alabama announced the indictment of Marshae Jones after authorities failed to indict the shooter.
According to Alabama.com, a grand jury indicted Marshae Jones for the death of her 5-month fetus. Prosecutors say Jones initiated an altercation with Ebony Jemison outside of a Dollar General store.
During the altercation, Jemison took out her gun and shot Jones in the stomach. Authorities say the fight started over the unborn baby’s father. Not long after Jemison shot Jones in the stomach, police received a call regarding the shooting.
When police arrived at the scene, Jones had left the scene. Police learned that someone picked her up and took her to a Fairfield convenience store. After making contact with Jones, paramedics transported her the hospital. Doctors treated her for the gunshot wound. Unfortunately, the fetus did not survive.
Initially, authorities charged Ebony Jemison for the shooting. However, a grand jury failed to indict her on manslaughter charges. Unable to secure indictments against Jemison, prosecutors decided to go after Jones for the death of the fetus.
Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Danny Reid said,
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby. It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
Reid told the media that Jones initiated the fight and provoked Jemison. Due to her actions, police say that Jemison was forced to defend herself. He doubled down on the assertion that Jones failed to protect the life of her unborn baby.
“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,’’ Reid said. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.”
He continued by saying that fetus is dependent on the mother, keeping them safe from harm. Because Jones started the fight with Jemison, police decided to charge her with the death of the fetus.
Naturally, the charges of manslaughter for a 5-month-fetus have many outraged. A 5-month fetus would be unable to survive outside the womb of the mother. Therefore, charging the mother with a crime of manslaughter seems severe.
However, Alabama recently passed a law that makes abortion illegal, and many realize this charge is on par with the government’s belief that fetuses have more value than the life of the woman.
The Yellowhammer fund, a member of the National Network of Abortion funds, released a statement on Wednesday denouncing the actions of the prosecutors.
“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,’’ Executive Director Amanda Reyes said in the statement.“
“Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care,” Reyes said.
“We commit ourselves to making sure that Marshae is released from jail on bond, assisting with her legal representation, and working to ensure that she gets justice for the multiple attacks that she has endured,’’ Reyes said.
“While the grand jury has had its say, our office is in the process of evaluating this case and has not yet made a determination about whether to prosecute it as a manslaughter case, reduce it to a lesser charge or not to prosecute it,’’ Powe said. “We will take a through look at all the facts provided, the applicable laws, and reach a decision that we believe will lead to an outcome that is the most just for all the parties involved. We will announce our decision only after all due diligence has been performed.”
“Unfortunately, some groups have attempted to tie this case to the anti-abortion law recent passed by the (state) legislature,’’ Powe said. “This case predates the passage of the legislation and we must point out the new law played no role in the consideration of the grand jury.”
According to prosecutors, the grand jury listened to all the evidence against Jemison and Jones in April. During the hearing, the grand jury determined that Jemison was not at fault. However, the grand jury agreed that Jones’ initiation of the fight led to the death of the fetus. Based upon these facts, the prosecutors said the grand jury decided to indict her on the charges.
Interestingly, Ebony Jemison, the shooter, told Buzzfeed that she does not agree with the indictment against Jones. She said that Jones’ loss of the baby is punishment enough for initiating the fight.
Naturally, the story has made international headlines. Alabama continues to prove to the world that they value fetuses more than women. Additionally, the state continues to find ways to embarrass the rest of the United States.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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