- In December Ebony Jemison shot Marshae Jones in the stomach when she was 5-months pregnant following an altercation between the two women
- Jemison was initially charged with manslaughter but the charges were dismissed after a Grand Jury failed to convict her
- On Wednesday Jones was indicted for the death of her unborn child and taken into custody
- A 2006 fetal homicide law defines a person as a child in utero regardless of viability
In Birmingham, Alabama, 27-year-old Marshae Jones has been indicted in Jefferson County after being shot in the stomach while pregnant by 23-year-old Ebony Jemison in a 2018 Pleasant Grove shooting. The baby did not survive the shooting and on Wednesday Jones was indicted for manslaughter over the death of her unborn child.
On December 4, 2018, officers were dispatched to the Dollar General on Park Road after receiving a call that someone had been shot. Jones was five months pregnant at the time of the shooting. According to police, Jones allegedly initiated a fight with Jemison over the father of her unborn child. Police say Jemison was forced to defend herself, at which point she shot Jones one time in the stomach.
When police arrived at the scene, Jones had been picked up and taken to Fairfield. Police and paramedics later found Jones at a Fairfield convenience store. From there Jones was taken to Fairfield UAB Hospital. Her unborn child did not survive the shooting.
Jemison was initially arrested and charged with manslaughter. According to Pleasant Grove Police Lieutenant Danny Reid, they initially planned on charging Jemison with murder but amended the charge to manslaughter. The charge against Jemison was later dismissed after a Grand Jury failed to indict her. Reid stated the investigation showed the only victim was the unborn child.
The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby. It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.Pleasant Grove Police Lieutenant Danny Reid
Reid added the 5-month fetus was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.” On Wednesday Jones was indicted by a Grand Jury and taken into custody for the death of her unborn child. Jones will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail where she will be held on a $50,000 bond. Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney’s Office is handling the prosecution of Jones. District Attorney Lynneice Washington had yet to make a comment at the time of this article.
When a 5-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child. That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.Pleasant Grove Police Lieutenant Danny Reid
Alabama’s Fetal Homicide Law
In 2006 Alabama passed a fetal homicide law. Within the law, the term “person” is defined as a “victim of a criminal homicide or assault, means a human being, including an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability.” The law still respected the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, with a section carved out to read “shall not apply to the death or injury to an unborn child alleged to be caused by medication or medical care or treatment provided to a pregnant woman when performed by a physician or other licensed health care provider.”
Last October Jessie Livell Phillips appealed his death sentence for the murder of his girlfriend that was eight weeks pregnant. A jury found him guilty of the murder of “two or more persons” under the fetal homicide law. In his appeal, Phillips argued the fetus was not a living person so therefore it was impossible to convict him of a double homicide. The Supreme Court rejected his appeal, citing the state’s interest in protecting both born and unborn lives. In total, 38 states have laws specifically regarding violence against pregnant women and their unborn children.