Wisconsin, Pennsylvania Men Charged Under Unborn Victims Laws

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania Men Charged Under Unborn Victims Laws

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 26, 2004

Pittsburgh, PA (LifeNews.com) — Two men charged with violence against women are likely to also be charged with the death of their unborn children, thanks to unborn victims laws in their respective states.

James Pinkston of Pittsburgh has been charged in the beating of his girlfriend Toni Koonce at his apartment December 18. Five days after the beating, doctors at Magee-Womens Hospital performed an emergency surgery on Koonce, as embryonic membranes had ruptured and the leaking fluid could have resulted in a fatal infection killing her.

WTAE-TV Channel 4 News reports that officials have recommended Pinkston be charged with criminal homicide of Konnce’s child, as she was 16 weeks pregnant at the time.

"He took something from me that he had no right to," Koonce said of Pinkston.

In Racine, Wisconsin, prosecutors are considering charges of homicide for David Larsen, accused of beating his ex-wife Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, stuffing her in a trash container, and leaving her to die in a storage facility in Illinois. Jendusa-Nicolai was five weeks pregnant, and her doctors said she suffered a miscarriage as a result of the ordeal.

Larsen already faces state charges, including attempted murder, for the attack on Jendusa-Nicolai, according to the Journal Times. If prosecutors can prove that the miscarriage was a result of the attack and that Larsen intended to kill his ex-wife, he can be charged with “fetal homicide” regardless of whether or not he knew she was pregnant.

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are two of 29 states that have similar laws allowing for an additional homicide charge in the death of an unborn child. Sixteen of those states, including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and most recently Kentucky, protect the unborn from the moment of conception.

Last week, Kentucky Governor signed a bill into law providing for charges in the death of unborn children, after pro-life advocates and legislators struggled for 18 years to pass such a law.

A similar bill in Virginia has cleared the legislature, and now awaits action from pro-abortion Governor Mark Warner, who has not taken a stance on the bill. The legislation passed by veto-proof margins and, if Warner vetoes it, pro-life lawmakers are expected to mount a campaign to override the veto.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to approve the federal version of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act today, and the Senate will likely vote soon after.

The federal legislation, as well as several similar state bills, has been endorsed by Sharon Rocha, mother of Laci Peterson and grandmother of her unborn child Conner, whose bodies washed up on the California coast last year in a murder investigation that received national attention.

Related web sites:
State Unborn Victims Laws Challenges – https://www.nrlc.org/Unborn_Victims/statechallenges.html