South Dakota Man Charged With Two Crimes in Unborn Victims Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 27, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Man Charged With Two Crimes in Unborn Victims Case

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
November 27, 2003

Aberdeen, SD ( — A man accused of stabbing his pregnant girlfriend is in jail on $500,000 bond because the attack resulted in the death of her unborn child — even though the mother survived.

Sundance Medicinehorn Keeble, is charged with fetal homicide, multiple counts of aggravated assault and simple assault following the stabbing Friday. His girlfriend, who survived the attack, was 4 to 5 months pregnant according to the prosecutor, Mark McNeary.

"This was a heinous act," McNeary said. "The defendant intentionally stabbed the woman in the stomach, causing the death of the unborn child."

In South Dakota, the killing of an "unborn child" at any stage of prenatal development is fetal homicide, manslaughter, or in the case of automobile involvement, vehicular homicide.

"The state feels confident that evidence will show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the acts that he’s being charged (with), but ultimately it could be up for a jury to decide," he said.

Keeble’s girlfriend, who was stabbed in the abdomen, is still hospitalized. His sister, who was struck in the mouth, was treated and released from the hospital.

South Dakota is one of 15 state that offer “full coverage” to unborn victims of violence, allowing the state to prosecute in the death of an unborn child at any stage. Another 13 states have similar laws that allow prosecution after the child has reached a certain age, usually after 24 weeks. In 38 states, parents can file civil suit relating to the death of an unborn child.

A federal Unborn Victims of Violence act has been spurred by the highly publicized case of Laci and Conner Peterson, whose bodies were found washed ashore in California. The legislation has come to be known also as “Laci and Conner’s Law" in their memory. Abortion advocates oppose the law, stating that as Conner was unborn, Laci is the only victim of the crime.

A Newsweek poll following the Peterson case found that 84% of the respondents agreed there were two victims were in favor of laws that allow for punishing criminals who kill or injure unborn children as a result of a crime against the mother and only 9% that favored adopting the single-victim ideology espoused by pro-abortion groups.

Laci Peterson’s family has strongly supported the unborn victims bill in Congress.

Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, in a letter to pro-abortion Senator John Kerry (D-MA) dated July 7, writes, "adoption of such a single-victim proposal would be a painful blow to those, like me, who are left to grieve after a two-victim crime, because Congress would be saying that Conner and other innocent victims like him are really not victims—indeed that they never existed at all."