Missouri Man Faces Charges of Killing His Unborn Daughter

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 11, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Man Faces Charges of Killing His Unborn Daughter

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 11, 2004

St. Louis, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri murder case is focusing new attention on the issue of unborn victims of violence. A prosecuting attorney in the case said the unborn child is "a baby" because she lived outside of her mother’s womb for eight minutes following the assault.

Twenty-six-year-old Lawrence Green is accused of killing his baby daughter as a result of beating the child’s mother.

Prosecutors say that Green attacked 21-year-old Rashawn Peterson, causing her to go into premature labor. Their baby, Rosie, lived just eight minutes outside the womb.

As a result, Green is now facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his daughter. The charge comes after St. Louis Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham ruled the child’s death a homicide.

The medical examiner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the beating resulted in bleeding behind the placenta, resulting in the baby’s premature birth. The 17-ounce baby was not sufficiently developed to live long outside the womb.

"A fetus living for eight minutes is a baby," said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. "That’s pretty clear-cut."

However, Joyce said that if the baby had been dead at birth it would have been harder to make the case for manslaughter.

Missouri has an unborn victims law that allows prosecutors to charge criminals who attack pregnant women and kill their unborn children. The applies throughout pregnancy and the killing of a baby before birth is involuntary manslaughter or first degree murder.

Police said Green kicked Peterson twice in the abdomen and beat her with a broomstick and his fists Jan. 3 at her home. Later, Peterson went to Barnes-Jewish Hospital and gave birth to a baby girl at 12:59 p.m. The child died at 1:07 p.m.

Peterson’s own injuries were not serious and she was released from the hospital not long after giving birth.

Congress has under consideration legislation that would establish an unborn victims law for those charged with federal crimes of violence.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life on state fetal homicide laws – https://www.nrlc.org/Unborn_Victims/Statehomicidelaws092302.html