New Zealand Law Society - Victim of Alabama shooting charged with manslaughter

Victim of Alabama shooting charged with manslaughter

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Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old Alabama woman, has been indicted for the manslaughter of her unborn child.

During an altercation between Ms Jones and the shooter, Ebony Jemison, Ms Jones was shot in the stomach five times resulting in the death of the foetus.

Ms Jemison faced a manslaughter charge that was dismissed after a grand jury failed to indict her. 

Police then said that since Ms Jones allegedly started the initial argument and endangered her baby's life, she would face similar charges. It is alleged that Ms Jemison was forced to defend herself from Ms Jones.

This situation is possible as in Alabama, as well as 37 other US states, where, for the purpose of criminal homicide or assaults, a “person” includes an unborn child in utero at any stage of development (Ala. Code § 13A-6-1 ).

Under the Alabama Criminal Code s13A-6-2 a person can be charged with manslaughter who negligently causes the death of another person: “Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he or she recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person other than himself or herself, and thereby causes the death of another person.”

Manslaughter is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.