On Wednesday, an Alabama woman who was shot in the stomach last year was indicted in the death of her unborn baby girl.
During a dispute regarding the baby’s paternity in December 2018, the mother, identified as Marshae Jones, was shot in the stomach by another female out of what police said was self-defense; the baby, who was at about five months' gestation, died from the gunshot wound.
Jones, 27, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on a manslaughter charge and taken into police custody, AL.com reported. The woman who shot Jones, 23-year-old Ebony Jemison, had a manslaughter charge against her dismissed after a grand jury failed to indict her in the death of the baby girl, the outlet noted.
The dispute between Jones and Jemison occurred outside a Dollar General. Police were called to the location after Jones was shot by Jemison, but when they arrived, the mother was gone. Jones was later found at a convenience store and taken to a nearby hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ said Pleasant Grove police lieutenant Danny Reid after the shooting, according to AL.com. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
Per Reid, Jones initiated the fight and Jemison shot her out of self-defense, the outlet reported.
"Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here. She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection," the lieutenant said.
Reid noted that the unborn baby girl was "dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations."
“According to Alabama law, manslaughter happens when: A person recklessly causes the death of another person; or A person causes the death of another person under circumstances that would constitute murder, ‘except that he or she causes the death due to a sudden heat of passion caused by provocation recognized by law, and before a reasonable time for the passion to cool and for reason to reassert itself,’” reported CNN.
Manslaughter, a Class B felony in Alabama, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the outlet noted.
While pro-abortion groups have sought to make the case an issue with Alabama’s strict new pro-life law signed in May by Republican governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act does not go into effect until November. The pro-life law outlaws abortion in all cases, save for an exception for saving the life of the mother.
Jones will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail and held on $50,000 bond. The indictment and prosecution is being handled by the Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney’s Office, reported AL.com.