Pregnant Black woman gets shot but faces manslaughter charge as her shooter goes free
In a case that may set an unusual legal precedent, a woman who was allegedly in a confrontation wound up a gunshot victim and lost her baby. But police say she's to blame
An Alabama woman whose unborn baby died after she was shot in the stomach is being blamed for causing the death of her baby while the shooter has been set free.
It’s an unusual case that 27-year-old Marshae Jones now has to face after a Jefferson County grand jury handed down a manslaughter charge on Wednesday for instigating a fight with another woman that caused the shooting and ultimately the killing of the unborn child she carried, AL.com reports.
According to authorities, Jones is responsible for her child’s death even though she didn’t pull the trigger. The charge stems from an alleged confrontation with 23-year-old Ebony Jemison with whom argued over the unborn child’s father.
Jones reportedly was belligerent and pressed Jemison to the point where she had to defend herself, authorities said.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove, Ala., police Lt. Danny Reid said. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
Jemison, police say, shot Jones, who is five months pregnant, in “self-defense” in the stomach, killing the child. Initially Jemison was charged with manslaughter but a grand jury did not indict her. The charges were dismissed.
“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.”
Reid said the fetus was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
Jones is being held on $50,000 bond at the Jefferson County Jail.
The incident happened December 4, 2018 when the two women got into a heated argument over a man while outside a Dollar General. Jones was found shot and was transported to a local hospital. The baby died.
After an investigation it was found that Jones was the antagonist and caused Jemison to defend herself with a firearm.
Still, Jones indictment has caused outrage by women rights groups — especially in a state that has imposed an extremely restrictive ban on abortion and has whittled away at women’s rights.
“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,’’ said Amanda Reyes, Executive Director of The Yellowhammer Fund said.
“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 B lack 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.