A woman whose unborn baby died after she was shot in the stomach during a debate has been charged with manslaughter because she allegedly started the fight – while the shooter walked free.
Marshae Jones, 27, from Birmingham, Alabama, was charged by a grand jury on a manslaughter charge and taken into custody on Wednesday, AL.com reports.
Police initially charged Ebony Jemison, 23, with manslaughter but the charge was rejected when a grand jury failed to accuse her.
It is believed the argument outside a shop in Pleasant Grove, known as “the good neighbor city”, on 4 December last year was about the unborn baby’s father.
Jones, who was five months pregnant at the time, was picked up in a car after she was shot in the stomach and driven to a nearby town.
She was later rushed to hospital after police and paramedics traced her down but her unborn child did not survive.
At the time of the shooting, Lieutenant Danny Reid, of Pleasant Grove police, said the “only true victim” was the unborn baby.
He alleged that Ms. Jones started and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her baby, who relied on her for security.
Lt Reid stated the fetus was “dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t attempt out unnecessary physical fights”, according to AL.com.
Jones was expected to be moved to Jefferson County Jail, where she will be held on a $50,000 (£39,400) bond.
Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates tweeted that it was working to get Jones bailed and to find her legal representation.
The National Abortion Federation added: “A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach during a fight. The shooting caused her pregnancy to end. She has been indicted for manslaughter.
“This is how people – especially women of color – are already being punished and having their pregnancies criminalized.”
Last month, Alabama became the latest US state to ban abortions in almost all cases, including rape or incest.
The case has drawn widespread attention from the public, as well as reproductive and abortion rights activists.