Teen in Baseball Bat Abortion Case May Not Go to Jail for Killing Baby
by Steven Ertelt
September 1, 2005
Richmond Township, MI (LifeNews.com) — A teenager who was responsible for using a miniature baseball bat to answer his girlfriends request to cause her to have an abortion will probably not serve any time in jail after reaching a plea agreement. The teen could also have the conviction wiped off of his criminal record.
At a hearing Wednesday before Macomb County Juvenile Judge Matthew Switalski, the now 17 year-old entered a no contest plea to a charge of assaulting a pregnant woman and causing a miscarriage. The charge normally puts a criminal in the adult system behind bars for approximately 15 years.
Another hearing is slated for September 29 as to whether the teen will be sentenced or have his criminal record expunged.
"It’s not a plea bargain or a sentence bargain. He pleaded as charged," Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith told the Macomb Daily newspaper. "The reason for the no contest plea is the defendant might have a concern about civil litigation, and in today’s overly litigious environment anything is possible."
According to the Daily, court records reveal that "conditions of the plea are that the court will have jurisdiction over (the boy) until age 19 and that the prosecution will not seek incarceration of (him) at disposition."
The plea will likely mean that the teen will serve a juvenile probation for two years and may have the case against him dismissed if he completes that successfully, though prosecutors oppose the dismissal and Judge Switalski has not said whether he would grant it.
Defense lawyer Miranda Massie, who has come under fire for suggesting that pro-life laws limiting abortion were responsible for the assault, said the plea was important because "in human terms, the cost of going to trial would probably be too high."
"We still think there was no crime committed here," Massie told the Daily. "But even if we went to trial and won, the likelihood of losing his anonymity under the national media attention would mean a heavy toll for him, and for her. And this was a good resolution."
Massie also said she doesn’t want the case to receive further attention because it could "give reproductive rights a big push backwards."
However, Smith told the Macomb newspaper, abortion is a distraction from the issue at hand of a teenager beating a girl and ending the life of her unborn child.
"Several people wanted to make the case about abortion, but once you get past the political rhetoric, the case is just about a horrific act of assault. They had to come back to arguing the facts of the case," Smith said. "We were not all that surprised that he pled."
The teens originally sought an abortion without telling either set of parents, but ultimately settled on having the boyfriend beat the girl’s abdomen repeatedly over several weeks with the bat to cause a miscarriage.
Police eventually found the body of the baby buried in the boy’s backyard. The teen had received help from his mother to bury the baby.
The only law prosecutors could use to charge either of the teens is a statute pro-life groups pressed for allowing criminals to be charged when they kill or injure an unborn child in an attack on the mother.