Autopsy Report Discusses Pregnant Texas Woman’s Murder

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Autopsy Report Discusses Pregnant Texas Woman’s Murder

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
November 21, 2003

Round Rock, TX (LifeNews.com) — The first information released to the public in the murder of Christina Moore and her unborn child came today from a local paper that was accidentally mailed a copy of the autopsy report.

The case has been of interest to pro-life groups as it could be the first application of Texas’ Prenatal Protection Law, which allows prosecutors to hold criminals accountable when they kill or injure an unborn child in the course of an attack on a pregnant woman.

The disclosure stated that Moore was approximately 14 weeks pregnant with a son. It also reported the cause of death was severe cut wounds to the neck, and noted an "absence of defense wounds.” Examiners also noticed a restraint on one arm upon initial inspection.

Prior to the report, police had only stated that the cause of death was a "severe laceration to her upper torso." Police had also reported there was not sexual assault, and according to the Round Rock Leader the autopsy report “did not specifically note
any indications of sexual assault.”

According to documents involved in the search warrant, there were signs of a struggle and Moore’s body was found in the master bedroom closet.

Although the Round Rock Leader newspaper did not fully disclose the details of the document, investigators are not pleased with the paper’s decision.

"We requested from a Williamson County magistrate that the results be sealed just because there’s information in the report known only to the killer and to us and those are critical pieces of information," said Eric Poteet of the Round Rock Police Department.

Local police have been tight-lipped about the case. The team of nine investigators assigned to the crime has been keeping quiet about the investigation – not even sharing information with officers not investigating the case.

"This secrecy allows our detectives to quickly recognize when information is relevant to the investigation," said Round Rock Police Chief Paul Conner in a statement.

On October 1, the autopsy report was sealed by District Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield. An official from the Medical Examiner’s office told police an office employee mailed it to the local paper by mistake.

Under Texas law, the sealing of an autopsy report prohibits the police, District Attorney’s Office and the Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 from releasing the report, but does not prohibit possession of it.

Christina Moore was found stabbed to death in her home on September 23. To date, police have not named any suspects or filed charges.

According to Joe Poijman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, the local district attorney is "eager" to prosecute for two victims of the murder.

"If the investigation determines that the unborn child died as a result of the stabbing death of Ms. Moore, this would be the first known application of the Prenatal Protection Act," said Poijman.

The pro-life Texas law, which took effect September 1, makes Texas one of 28 states that make the killing of an unborn child a homicide. Some 15 of these states, including Texas, extend the protection for the entire term of prenatal development. In 38 states, parents can sue for the wrongful death of an unborn child.

As it is the first application of the law, opponents, namely pro-abortion groups, are questioning its constitutionality. Poijman said he is confident it will not be overturned, as similar laws in other states have never been successfully challenged.

The Prenatal Protection Law, originally Senate Bill 319, authored by Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria) and Rep. Ray Allen (R-Grand Prairie), recognizes unborn children as victims of crimes of homicide and assault.

It extends the definition of personhood to include unborn children "at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth" in the Texas Penal Code, thereby establishing criminal penalties for a third party who wrongfully injures or kills an unborn child in the womb against the mother’s wishes, such as in assault, drunk driving, and negligence.