Lawyer for Staffer Charged in Florida Botched Abortion Case Denies Charges
by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2009
Miami, FL (LifeNews.com) — A lawyer for the abortion center staff charged with the unlicensed practice of a health care related to a gruesome botched abortion case says his client is innocent. Meanwhile, an attorney for the woman who suffered from the failed abortion is moving ahead with her wrongful death lawsuit.
Belkis Gonzalez was arrested on Tuesday and jailed on two felony counts related to the death of a baby, named Shanice, who was born alive after the botched abortion in the 2006 case.
Gonzalez was charged with the unlicensed practice of a health care profession resulting in serious bodily injury, a second degree felony, and with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, a third degree felony.
If convicted of the charges, Gonzalez faces a minimum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. She could receive a maximum of 15 years in prison on the unlicensed medicine charge and five years for tampering with evidence.
But Gonzalez’s lawyer, Alberto Milian, tells the Sun-Sentinel newspaper that the charges are bogus because pro-life groups asked local officials to bring them.
"Undoubtedly, this is one of those kinds of cases where there’s a special interest to try to push a prosecution," he said. "All I can tell you is we stand on our plea of not guilty, and we’ll have to see what is being alleged."
Gonzalez will appear in court to respond to the charges on March 24 and she is on probation currently and free on a $50,000 bond. She was released from the Miami-Dade jail following her posting bail after her arrest.
In the botched abortion incident Sycloria Williams went to the GYN Diagnostic Center abortion facility in Hialeah, outside Miami, for an abortion.
She had laminaria inserted and went back the next day for the abortion and gave birth instead to a baby named Shanice. Abortion practitioner Pierre Renelique did not show up for a scheduled abortion, causing Shanice to be born alive.
Gonzalez allegedly stuffed the baby’s body in a biohazard bag and tossed the bag on the roof when local officials stopped by to investigate after they received a tip.
Attorneys for Williams wanted officials to file murder charges related to Shanice’s death.
But Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, tells the newspaper that investigators were unable to precisely determine the reasons for the baby’s death and whether Gonzalez was directly responsible.
"If we can’t prove that the actions of Belkis Gonzalez were the cause of the infant’s death, ethically, we cannot charge her with murder or manslaughter," Griffith said.
The baby’s body had decomposed by the time authorities found it a week later, Griffith said.
Tom Pennekamp, Sycloria Williams’ Miami-based attorney, is moving ahead with his wrongful death lawsuit.
He believes the case "is clearly a homicide" and the lawsuit alleges Gonzalez was responsible for the baby’s death and that the emotional trauma William faced afterwards prompted the lawsuit.
"This woman came face to face with a baby," he said. Witnessing a baby being thrown away is "not what she signed up for," he said.
The abortion practitioner in the case, Pierre Renelique, saw the Board of Medicine revoke his medical license last month.
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