Alabama Woman Charged With Manslaughter for Killing Unborn Baby
by Steven Ertelt
July 16, 2008
Florence, AL (LifeNews.com) — An Alabama woman has been charged with manslaughter for intentionally killing her unborn child by severing the umbilical cord before birth. Jennifer Darlene Johnson was arrested by authorities after she came to the hospital and doctors realized that she took the life of her child.
The thirty-year-old woman is being held on a $50,000 bond and officials indicate she doesn’t have a lawyer yet.
Johnson was between 26 and 30 weeks pregnant when she arrived at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield Friday night saying her water broke and complaining of bleeding.
Captain Ron Tyler told the Associated Press that the baby was dead when delivered at the hospital and medical personnel determined that Johnson cut the umbilical cord before going and while the baby was still in her womb.
"Investigators believe the evidence demonstrates that the death of the infant is directly related to the intentional severing of the umbilical cord," Tyler told AP.
He would not give any details on whether the case involved a condition called prolapse, where the umbilical cord sometimes moves out of the birth canal, or whether Johnson intentionally tried to kill her baby or do an abortion on herself.
"The answer is going to best be reserved for court as to what the motive was," he said.
AP indicated police said the umbilical cord appeared to have been severed at the house of Johnson’s boyfriend.
Tyler was charged under a law allowing a manslaughter charge in the case of a reckless death, although the charge could increase to murder depending on further investigation in the case and after talks with the district attorney.
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