Florida Man on Trial for Killing Girlfriend Who Refused Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 2, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Man on Trial for Killing Girlfriend Who Refused Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 2, 2003

Tampa, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida man is on trial for allegedly killing his girlfriend after she refused to have an abortion. The case is the latest that pro-life groups can point to as a reason for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act to punish those who target pregnant women with violence.

Joseph Peck boarded a plane in October 1995 to head to the couple’s home state from their residence in Florida. After he arrived, he claims he couldn’t get in contact with his girlfriend Jennifer for a day and a half. He reported her missing.

Police turned up her body in the trunk of a car parked in a strip club parking lot. She’d been killed by a blow to the head with a blunt object.

For years, no one knew what had happened to Jennifer. Joseph was a leading suspect because of a prior felony conviction and, only 15 months after Jennifer’s body was discovered, he was arrested and convicted on a rape charge.

He remained at the top of police lists until a break in the case finally came.

One of Joseph’s own family members later reported to police that some jewelry of Jennifer’s was hidden in a duffel bag. When police found the bag, it contained Jennifer’s blood on it.

Thanks to the national media attention given to the Laci Peterson case, Jennifer’s is now receiving more notice.

In 2001, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, homicide accounted for 20 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths. Several state studies have backed up that number and revealed that pregnant women are indeed targeted because of their pregnancy.

Pro-life groups say the legalization of abortion has empowered some men to threaten to leave their partners once a pregnancy is confirmed. When the threats fail, some turn to violence to kill their partners or the unborn child.

Tampa police Detective Greg Stout said Jennifer Peck’s slaying is a case that "cried out” for justice.

"This was a poor, innocent woman who did nothing to no one," he said. "He could have just left her … and I am sure she’d be back in Oklahoma close to her family with a child. Her family feels as deprived of a grandchild as they do of missing her.”