by Steven Ertelt
February 2, 2007
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — An Arizona man who killed his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child is the first to have been convicted under a 2005 state law that protects pregnant women and their babies from violence. The unborn victims law allows prosecutors to hold criminals accountable for both deaths.
Jorge Gurrola, 24, received two counts of second degree murder for killing Monica Sanchez and killing her seven week old unborn child.
Inlcuding Arizona, some 34 states have the laws, which gained national prominence with the deaths of Laci and Connor Peterson, and 24 of them protect both mother and child throughout pregnancy.
Arizona state legislators strengthened the law in 2005 just months after Scott Peterson was convicted for killing his wife and child.
According to the East Valley Tribune newspaper, Gurrola hit Sanchez when he found pictures of another man in her wallet.
“I remember hitting her and right afterwards I was like, I felt like it all snapped into something else, like I was another person. I didn’t feel like it was me,” Gurrola said.
Mariza Sanchez, Monica’s mother, now takes care of her 2 year-old granddaughter, Janelle. She testified about the emotional impact the killings had.
“It’s not supposed to be that way. Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children," she said, according to the newspaper.
Monica Sanchez’ older sister, Cindy, said she was happy that Gurrola was convicted on both counts.
The Maricopa County Superior Court upheld the conviction and Gurrola could receive 10 to 22 years in prison for killing Sanchez and 13 years to life for the death of the baby.
The conviction is another case where a criminal has been found guilty of killing an unborn baby before viability.