An Alabama district attorney has dropped all charges against Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old woman who was indicted by a grand jury in the death of her fetus after she was shot in the stomach.
The grand jury had concluded that Jones intentionally caused her child’s death because she had allegedly started the fight that led to the shooting. But the district attorney of Jefferson County, Lynneice Washington, opted to dismiss the case.
“There are no winners, only losers in this sad ordeal,” Washington said, according to CNN.
In December, Jones got into an altercation with 23-year-old Ebony Jemison outside a Dollar General store in Pleasant Grove, near Birmingham. During the fight, Jemison shot Jones in the abdomen. Jones was five months pregnant at the time, and the fetus did not survive the shooting.
Jemison was initially charged with murder and attempted murder, but a grand jury did not indict her because a police investigation found that Jones was responsible for the argument, and that Jemison had been trying to defend herself when she fired the bullet.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Lieutenant Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting, according to AL.com. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight, which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
The same grand jury indicted Jones last week on manslaughter charges, which carried a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The case sparked widespread disbelief and anger, with reproductive rights advocates arguing that it was demonstrative of the criminalization of black mothers and problematic pro-life politics in Alabama, which recently passed a near-total ban on abortions.
On Monday, Jones’ lawyers filed a motion claiming that the state used “flawed and twisted rationale” that “ignores the law and ignores reason” in its charges against their client. And although District Attorney Washington thanked the grand jury for “[taking] to heart that the life of an unborn child was violently ended,” she ultimately decided that the case would be dismissed.
“This is truly a disturbing and heartbreaking case,” Washington said, per CNN. An unborn child was tragically lost and families on both sides of this matter have suffered. Nothing, nothing, nothing we do today or in the future will change that reality.”
Read the full story at CNN.