Pennsylvania Man Prosecuted Under Unborn Victims Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 19, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Man Prosecuted Under Unborn Victims Law

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
May 19, 2004

Harrisburg, PA ( — In yet another case of a conviction resulting from an unborn victims law, a
Pennsylvania man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the death of a 28-week-old unborn child.

Twenty-one-year-old Mark Edwards has been convicted in Fayette County following a violent rampage two years ago that left all but one member of a family dead.

Edwards was sentenced to death for the murders of a couple and their teenage daughter. In addition, the second-degree murder of the girl’s unborn child carries a term of life in prison.

A lawyer for Edwards said that the defendant did not realize the consequences of his actions when he shot members of the Bobish family, then set fire to their house.

Attorney Dianne Zerega said Edwards, of North Union, was mentally disabled, had only an eighth grade education, and was addicted to drugs at the time of the murders.

The slayings, which occurred in April of 2002, reportedly resulted from a drug deal that went awry.

The victims included Larry A. Bobish, Sr., 50; Joanna M. Bobish, 42; Krystal Bobish, 17; and Krystal’s unborn child. A fourteen-year-old boy, Larry Bobish, Jr., survived the shooting spree.

Edwards testified that he had stolen a chemical cocktail consisting of liquid PCP and formaldehyde from the Bobish family two days before the slayings. Investigators believe Edwards wanted to kill the family because they were demanding money for the stolen drugs.

District Attorney Nancy Vernon said Joanna and Krystal Bobish had become addicted to the PCP cocktail, which is known on the street as "wet." Larry Bobish, Sr. was selling the drug in order to support the family’s habit.

Edwards denied that he was responsible for the shooting, saying that he was asleep on his grandmother’s couch at the time of the attack. His grandmother corroborated Edwards’ account.

But Larry Bobish, Jr. testified that he saw Edwards kill his family. Bobish said the man arrived at his parents’ home around six in the morning and went into the kitchen with his father. The boy said he heard two shots, then heard a body hit the floor.

Bobish said Edwards then raced into the living room and shot him as well. The bullet passed through Bobish’s hand and remains embedded in his skull. Bobish said Edwards then went down the hall and fired at his other relatives–including his pregnant sister.

Edwards was convicted of killing an unborn child under Pennsylvania’s fetal homicide law, which makes it a crime to cause the death of a baby inside a mother’s womb.

The unborn victims law is one of dozens around the nation, according to Americans United For Life (AUL), which tracks pro-life legislation.

AUL notes, "Clearly, fetal protection laws establish much needed legal protection for unborn children. While such laws do not directly impact abortion, they do cultivate an awareness of the value and rights of unborn children and foster public support for the protection of unborn children."

Earlier this year, President George W. Bush signed the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which ensures that an unborn child will be counted as a victim when a federal crime of violence is committed against a pregnant woman.

The law has been nicknamed Laci and Conner’s Law, in honor of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner, who were murdered in California.

National polls indicate that as many as 80 percent of Americans support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Related web sites:
Americans United for Life –