"The issue before us is whether it’s appropriate to try to hold someone legally culpable for the actions that led to the death of the unborn child. There are no winners, only losers, in this sad ordeal."
The manslaughter charge against Alabama woman Marshae Jones who lost her unborn baby after being shot has been dropped.
The manslaughter charge provoked outrage after Pleasant Grove Police Department alleged that Marshae Jones was responsible for her unborn baby’s death, accusing her of starting the fight that led to her being shot repeatedly and losing her five-month fetus.
The state of Alabama recognises a fetus at any stage of development as a “person” for criminal homicide or assaults.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington said there will be no further legal action against 28-year-old Marshae Jones.
“This is truly a disturbing and heartbreaking case. An unborn child was tragically lost, and families on both sides of this matter have suffered,” Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington said in a published statement.
Lynniece Washington is the first African American woman elected district attorney in Alabama.
“Nothing we do today or in the future will change that reality. The issue before us is whether it’s appropriate to try to hold someone legally culpable for the actions that led to the death of the unborn child. There are no winners, only losers, in this sad ordeal,” she continued.
“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 on the manslaughter charge for which she was indicted by the grand jury. Therefore, I am hereby dismissing this case, and no further legal action will be taken against Ms Jones in this matter.
“It is important to point out that our decision not to prosecute Ms Jones is in no way a criticism of the hardworking and conscientious members of the Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff Grand Jury who answered the call to public duty. These 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.
“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 interest of all concerned, we are not prosecuting this case.”
Marshae Jones was arrested and charged with the manslaughter of her unborn child. Photo: Pleasant Grove Police Department.
Police initially charged 23-year-old Ebony Jemison over the death of Jones’ unborn child, the grand jury deemed Jemison shot in self-defence and instead Jones should be held responsible for the loss of the fetus.
The woman who shot Jones, Ebony Jemison, was charged with the unborn baby’s death but the grand jury found that she fired in self-defence during the argument with Jones in the city of Pleasant Grove in Jefferson County, Alabama, on December 4 last year.
The grand jury decided not to go ahead with the police case against Jemison but decided to charge Jones with manslaughter as she was alleged to have started the argument and put her unborn baby at risk.
White, Arnold and Dowd, the law firm representing Jones, praised Washington’s actions.
“We are gratified the District Attorney evaluated the matter and chose not to proceed with a case that was neither reasonable nor just,” White, Arnold and Dowd said in a statement.
“The District Attorney’s decision will help Marshae continue to heal from this tragic event and work to rebuild her life in a positive and productive way. She moves forward with enormous gratitude for the support she and her family have received during this challenging time.”