Oklahoma Man Charged Under Unborn Victims Law With Killing Woman, Baby

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oklahoma Man Charged Under Unborn Victims Law With Killing Woman, Baby

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 5
, 2008

Tulsa, OK (LifeNews.com) — A Oklahoma man is one of the first to be charged under a fairly new law that holds criminals accountable when they kill or injure an unborn child in the commission of an attack on the baby’s mother. Jesus Francisco Hernandez, 35, is accused of killing Aletheia Kikugawa and her unborn baby in January 2007.

Because of the law to protect women and unborn children and given them justice, prosecutors have been able to charge Hernandez with two counts of first-degree murder.

Under the law, the unborn child, who was 15-16 weeks old at the time of the slayings, is recognized as a separate victim from "the moment of conception."

According to a Tulsa World report, Kikugawa’s ex-husband found her dead in her home.

During a hearing in the case, he told the court she told him she was afraid of telling Hernandez, with whom she lived, that she was pregnant.

Sharlean Boone, a friend of the victim, also testified during the hearing and said Hernandez already knew about the pregnancy and was not happy about it. She said other people had to take Kikugawa to her doctor visits to keep Hernandez from finding out.

Oklahoma is one of 36 states with an unborn victims law and one of 26 that provide protection and justice for women throughout the pregnancy.

House Bill 1686, signed into law on May 20, 2005, recognizes "an unborn child" as a victim under state laws against murder, manslaughter, and certain other acts of violence.

The law defines "unborn child" as "the unborn offspring of human beings from the moment of conception, through pregnancy, and until live birth including the human conceptus, zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo and fetus."

Following upon the law enacted in 2005, Senate Bill 1742, signed into law May 23, 2006, ensures that Oklahoma’s recognition of the unborn child as a separate victim applies uniformly across all of Oklahoma’s homicide statutes.