California Man Convicted Killing Both Pregnant Girlfriend and Unborn Child
by Steven Ertelt
June 5, 2009
Richmond, CA (LifeNews.com) — A 34-year-old California man, Aaron Ashley was convicted of two counts of murder in the killings of his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child. Ashley, who could be the first to be prosecuted since the conviction of Scott Peterson for the deaths of Laci and Conner, wanted his partner to have an abortion.
Prosecuting attorney Casey Bates told the jury that evidence shows Ashley killed 24-year-old Latrice Grayson.
Ashley, who has a wife and three children, killed Grayson when she was eight and a half months pregnant, and reportedly stabbed her repeatedly with scissors.
Ashley’s lawyer Darryl Stallworth admitted his client killed Grayson but said the sentence should be reduced to voluntary manslaughter, claming Ashley acted in the heat of passion. He says Grayson told Ashley he was not the father of her baby and that he became enraged as a result.
But, according to a Contra Costa Times report, Bates told the court that Ashley admitted, "My baby’s mother has been stabbed" when taking about the killing. To bates, that means Grayson never told Bates he wasn’t the father and that the murder of mother and unborn child were intentional.
The jury took little time to reach the verdict of two counts of murder for the September 7 killings and, Ashley will face a sentencing hearing before Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay on July 31.
Ashley will receive a state prison term of 32 years to life for each count and Bates told the newspaper he’s "very happy" with the verdict because Ashley "will be incarcerated for a very long period of time."
Peterson was sentenced to death by lethal injection in March 2005 after he was convicted of killing his wife and unborn child, Laci and Conner, and dumping their bodies in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve 2002.
The Peterson case resulted in the passage of a national law and measures in state legislatures to provide more protection and justice for pregnant women and their unborn children when they are killed or injured in an attack.
California is one of 35 states to have a state law allowing two charges with both mother and child are killed.
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