by Steven Ertelt
November 18, 2004
Indo, CA (LifeNews.com) — A California teenager has been convicted of shooting his pregnant girlfriend as she waited in the lobby of an abortion facility. Jeffrey Cameron FitzHenry was founding guilty of all counts of attempted murder in the shooting of a girl known only as Sara S. in court records.
FitzHenry, 17, shot Sara an unknown number of times at the Women’s Health Clinic abortion facility.
A staffer at the abortion business said FitzHenry came into the lobby around 11:30 AM and asked the teen to "get out." When she refused, FitzHenry left and returned moments later brandishing a small handgun hitting her in the neck at least once.
A witness said FitzHenry shouted to the girl, "How can you deny it’s my baby?" before shooting her.
FitzHenry left the scene and fled to his parents’ home. Police later received permission from his parents to enter the home and apprehend him.
The defense rested without calling any witnesses and urged jury members to be lenient on the teenager. Defense attorneys said FitzHenry shot Sara in a rash of emotion, rather than in a cold calculating plan.
"I don’t think escalation of emotion doesn’t mitigate it from being premeditated and deliberate," Deputy District Attorney Traci Carillo, responded.
The shooting left Sara a quadriplegic and she testified during the trial that FitzHenry repeatedly threatened her because she wanted to have an abortion "depriving him of his unborn child."
"He told her why he did this a week before when he had said, `If you take something of mine, I’ll take something of yours,’" Riverside County prosecutor Traci Carrillo told jurors in her closing argument. "That was his motive."
The baby was declared dead three days after the shooting.
However, because Sara had decided to have an abortion, FitzHenry will not be charged under a law which adds a second charge for criminals who kill or injure an unborn child in an assault against a pregnant woman.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 6 and FitzHenry, who can be tried as an adult, could receive life in prison.
Joseph Durante, the owner of the abortion business was in a back room at the time of the shooting. He said the abortion facility had no security measures and no plans to install any.
Durante is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured in a botched abortion.
Durante is accused of not providing adequate follow-up care after a botched abortion that perforated the uterus of Ann Marie Santana in 1998 was done at his abortion facility. The abortion also caused other medical problems and Santana was forced to have an emergency surgery as a result.
Durante owns and operates three abortion facilities in suburbs east of Los Angeles.