By Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News
An Alabama woman shot in the stomach while pregnant has been charged with manslaughter because she allegedly initiated the 2018 conflict that culminated in the shooting-death of her fetus.
Marshae Jones was five months pregnant when she miscarried after a brawl outside a Dollar Store in Pleasant Grove, AL.com reported. Police said the 27-year-old Birmingham woman got into a heated row on Dec. 4 regarding the father of her unborn child with Ebony Jemison, who was arrested for shooting Jones amid the argument.
Jemison was facing a count of manslaughter, but a jury later dismissed the charge after it failed to indict her. Police at the time accused Jones of instigating the violent confrontation and alleged the 23-year-old shooter had actually acted in self-defense.
“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. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
He 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.”
A Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Jones on a manslaughter charge, according to AL.com. She’s slated to be booked in a Jefferson County jail on $50,000 bond.
“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.”
Jones’ indictment this week sparked backlash from several activists, including the National Abortion Federation and the Yellowhammer Fund, an organization dedicated to helping Alabama women get access to abortion services.
“A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach during a fight. She has been indicted for manslaughter,” the NAF said in a tweet.
“This is how people – especially woman of color – are already being punished and having their pregnancies criminalized.”
The Yellowhammer Fund said in a statement Thursday morning vowed to help Jones with her legal defense.
“Marshae Jones was indicted for manslaughter for losing a pregnancy after being shot in the abdomen FIVE times. Her shooter remains free,” the nonprofit said.
“As a reproductive justice fund, we commit ourselves to making sure Marshae is release from jail on bond, assisting with her legal representation, and working to ensure that she gets justice for the multiple attacks that she has endured.”