Maryland Man Kills Pregnant Girlfriend, Likely No Charge for Killing Unborn Baby
by Steven Ertelt
May 14, 2009
District Heights, MD (LifeNews.com) — A Maryland man has apparently killed his 19-year-old pregnant girlfriend, reportedly because he was upset she was pregnant with his child. Bernard Bellamy, 20 was arrested by police in connection with the death of Valicia Andrea Demery, who was four months pregnant.
The homicide appeared to have occurred earlier this week as officials discovered Demery’s body on the track surrounding the football field at Forestville Military Academy.
Video cameras at the high school linked Bellamy’s car to the crime scene and now he faces first-degree murder charges.
However, in a turn of events that is upsetting pro-life advocates, it appears prosecutors will not be able to hold Bellamy accountable for killing the baby.
Maryland is one of the 36 states that have an unborn victims law on the books, but the statute only allows charges in connection with the death of or injury to a baby who is past the point of viability.
The law also requires that the defendant must have specifically targeted the unborn child for attack, and that intent requirement could also some defendants to escape prosecution by claiming they did not intend to kill the baby.
Under Maryland law, "viable" means "that stage when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the womb."
Given those elements of the statute, Angela Martin, the director of Maryland Right to Life, tells LifeNews.com she thinks Bellamy will escape prosecution for killing the baby.
"This tragic case points out the need for stronger legislation in Maryland to recognize unborn victims of violence," she said. "A family is grieving the loss of two of its members, but the state may not be able to bring charges on behalf of one of the victims because, at four months, a fetus may not be considered viable."
Maryland Right to Life supported a bill in 2005 that would have provided that laws relating to murder or manslaughter would apply to an unborn child at any time during pregnancy. The bill died in committee and lawmakers approved the weaker language.
According to a 2008 Maternal Morality Report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as many as one-fourth of all pregnancy-associated deaths may be the result of homicide, according to Martin.
A "pregnancy-associated death" is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within one year or 365 days of pregnancy conclusion, regardless of the cause of death. The 2008 report reported that there were 33 pregnancy-associated deaths in 2006, eight of which were homicides.
Last night, Demery’s family gathered to honor her memory and several hundred people appeared in front of her family’s home to support them.
Related web sites:
Maryland Right to Life – https://www.mdrtl.org
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