A woman who was shot in the stomach and lost her baby has now been charged with manslaughter over the death of her unborn child.
Marshae Jones, 27, is alleged to have started a fight with Ebony Jemison, 23, when she was five months pregnant, AL.com reports.
The fight, which happened in December 2018, ended in Jemison shooting Jones in the abdomen. Jones later lost her bay.
A jury in Birmingham, Alabama, has indicted Jones over the unborn baby’s death – claiming that she initiated the fight that led to gunfire.
Police initially charged Jemison with manslaughter, but the charges were dropped when the Jefferson County grand jury failed to indict her after cops said Jemison had been acting in self-defence.
Ebony Jemison was arrested over the shooting, but charges were later dropped. Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Pleasant Grove police lieutenant 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.”
According to lieutenant Reid the fight broke out over the father of Jones’ unborn baby.
“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,” he said. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.”
He added that the fetus was ‘dependent on its mother to try and keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations’.
The unusual ruling has been condemned by many.
Amanda Reyes, executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund, which provides funding for women seeking abortions in Alabama, has slammed the charge.
In a statement, she said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Jones is due to be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail, where she will be held on $50,000 bond.