by Steven Ertelt
November 16, 2007
Grand Junction, CO (LifeNews.com) — A Colorado man is being charged with first-degree murder in connection with a fatal automobile accident that resulted in the death of a pregnant woman and her eight-month-old unborn child. The case could see local courts tackle the question of when human life begins and whether the unborn deserve legal protection from violence.
Logan Lester Lage, a 24-year-old who was fleeing from police in a high-speed chase on November 6, ultimately crashed into a vehicle 26-year-old Shea Lehnen was driving.
The accident injured Lehnen and she was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital where doctors did an emergency Caesarean section to deliver the baby. Although born alive, the child died from asphyxia after the accident damaged the mother’s body and limited blood flow to the baby.
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger spoke with the Grand Junction Sentinel about the case.
"Given the heinous nature of this act, I felt the need to charge as strongly as I ethically could,” he said.
Hautzinger said the case isn’t meant to be a statement about abortion but to give justice to the baby, who was just days away from birth. He is ready to defend the first-degree murder charges in court and his claim that the baby was a person under law at the time of the accident.
However, Colorado does not have a Laci Peterson law that protects pregnant women and unborn children and gives them justice when the child is killed or injured in an accident like this.
About two-thirds of the states across the country have the statute in place, and California’s was used to successfully charge Scott Peterson with two counts of murder in the deaths of Laci and their son Connor.
Colorado state law says a person is a “human being who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act.”
“There’s no bones about, I’m going out on a limb,” Hautzinger told the Sentinel newspaper. “There may be a judge that disagrees.”
He said he may not have filed the murder charges had the baby not been born alive.