Alabama prosecutors have dropped the manslaughter charge against a pregnant woman whose unborn baby died after she was shot in the stomach in a fight.
Marshae Jones, 27, was arrested last week after a grand jury concluded she intentionally caused the death of her unborn daughter by initiating a fight, knowing she was pregnant.
Ms Jones was five months pregnant when 23-year-old Ebony Jemison shot her in the stomach during a December 2018 argument over the foetus’ father, authorities said.
Ms Jemison was initially charged with manslaughter. A Jefferson County grand jury declined to indict her after police said Ms Jones started the fight, and Ms Jemison fired in self-defence.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove police Lieutenant Danny Reid told local website Al.com in December.
Ms Jones, 28, was indicted by the same grand jury and arrested under the state’s conservative foetal homicide laws. If convicted, she had faced up to 20 years in jail.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) July 3, 2019
But Jefferson County District Attorney Lynneice Washington said Wednesday she would not pursue the case.
“After reviewing the facts of this case and the applicable state law, I have determined that it is not in the best interest of justice to pursue prosecution of Ms Jones,” Ms Washington said, flanked by her chief assistant and local church leaders.
“There are no winners, only losers, in this sad ordeal.”
Ms Jones’ arrest sparked outrage across the US, with advocates for women’s rights calling it another attempt to charge women for crimes related to their pregnancies.
Legal scholars said the arrest raised questions about what other scenarios – such as driving a car or swimming in a pool – could constitute putting a foetus in danger.