A woman whose unborn baby died after she was shot in the stomach following an argument has been charged with manslaughter, whilst the shooter walked free, prompting mass outrage.
Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old woman from Birmingham, Alabama, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on a manslaughter charge, AL.com reports.
Police initially charged 23-year-old Ebony Jemison with manslaughter, however that was later dismissed after a grand jury failed to indict her.
Authorities say Jones is to blame as she initiated the argument that led to the gunfire.
The shooting occurred on 4 December 2018, when Jones, then five months pregnant was shoot in the stomach. Though she had been quickly taken to the hospital, she lost her unborn baby girl.
Police claim Jones is at fault for the death of her unborn child as she allegedly started a fight over her baby’s father, and authorities say Jemison was acting in self-defence.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting, according to Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid.=.
It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby. Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,’’ Reid said. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.
The five-month foetus, he added, was "dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
Jones will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail and held on a $50,000 (£39,339) bond.
The news prompted intense outcry and criticism
One person made a comparison to the dystopian TV show The Handmaid's Tale
"Alabama is nuts"
The government of Alabama recently signed a controversial bill banning almost all abortions, placing residents in the state on a par with people in any countries across the developing world.
Republican Kay Ivey signed the measure, a day after it was passed by the state senate and the measure bans abortions, except in the case of a serious risk to the mother's health, and makes it a crime punishable by up to 99 years in jail for any doctor who performs such a procedure.
“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Ms Ivey, 74, said in a statement issued along with an image of her signing the bill.