Manslaughter charges against an Alabama woman, who was shot in the stomach while pregnant in 2018, have been dropped.
Prosecutors in Alabama said on Wednesday that they were dropping a manslaughter charge against Marshae Jones over the death of the fetus she was carrying when she was shot in the belly.
The case stirred outrage across the country in late June after a grand jury indicted Ms Jones, who was accused of starting a fight that resulted in the shooting.
The state recognises a fetus at any stage of development as a “person” for criminal homicide or assaults.
The same grand jury declined to charge the woman who fired the shot, Ebony Jemison, finding that she had fired in self-defence during an altercation with Jones on 4 December in 2018.
The police have said that Ms Jones, 28, who was five months pregnant, started the fight and failed to remove herself and her fetus from harm’s way.
“We are gratified the district attorney evaluated the matter and chose not to proceed with a case that was neither reasonable nor just,” the law firm representing Jones, White Arnold & Dowd, said in a statement.
Lynneice Washington, the district attorney for part of Jefferson County, said in a news conference, “After viewing 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 on the manslaughter charge for which she was indicted by the grand jury. Therefore, I am dismissing this case and no further legal action will be taken against Ms Jones in this matter.”
She said the decision not to prosecute Ms Jones was in no way a criticism of the grand jury.
“The citizens took the evidence presented them by the Pleasant Grove Police Department and made what they believed to be a reasonable decision to indict Ms Jones,” she said.
“The members of the grand jury took to heart that the life of an unborn child was violently ended and believed someone should be held accountable. But in the interests of all concerned, we are not prosecuting the case.”
The police initially charged the second woman, Ms Jemison, with manslaughter in the death of the fetus.
That charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.
By Farah Stockman © 2019 The New York Times