Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Pregnant Woman Refusing Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2011   |   5:51PM   |   Seattle, WA

A Washington state man has pleaded guilty to charges of murder in the death of 28-year-old Jennifer “J” Morgan and 13-month-old Ema Morgan after Jennifer refused his request to get an abortion.

Thomas Hicks, 31, was charged after he was apprehended following the discovery of the bodies by Morgan’s mother and in cooperation with other relatives who aided them in locating Hicks.

Hicks was diagnosed as depressed and suicidal for some time after having lost his job and that the condition worsened when he learned Morgan was pregnant. Legal papers the Seattle Times obtained say Hicks wanted Morgan to have an abortion and claimed she “was just trying to trap him with the pregnancy.” They say Hicks made several threats about killing Morgan and himself.

Now, KOMO News reports Hicks was in court today and pleaded guilt to aggravated murder and he told the judge he understands he will spend the rest of his live in prison without the possibility of parole. Because of the mental health issues, prosecutors for King County decided against pursuing the death penalty. The sentencing will take place on February 18.

The documents indicate that Hicks was upset after the birth of the baby because he was disappointed Ema was a girl and not a boy.

The papers also say he “became very jealous and suspicious of Jennifer,” and questioned whether he was in fact the baby’s biological father.

Morgan, the newspaper indicated, had planned to tell Hicks last week while her mother was at work that he needed to move out of their home. When Morgan’s mother returned home late that evening, she was glad to see Hicks’ truck gone and assume he had left.

She assumed Morgan and Ema were sleeping and, when she went downstairs the next morning, she discovered they had been shot and killed.

Hicks left a note apologizing and the police paperwork indicated Hick’s father shot and killed his mother when he was young.

Although Morgan did not have an abortion, incidents of mothers facing pressure and coercion to have an abortion by their husband or boyfriend are commonplace. Surveys of women who have had abortions indicate as many as 60 percent have said they faced pressure from a partner, family, or employer.

Cases involving the death of or injury to women who refuse to have abortions are frequent and Congress and more than two dozen states have passed laws offering protecting and justice for women and their unborn children victimized by such crimes. The laws make it so criminals are held accountable for two crimes instead of one because there are two victims — mother and unborn child — instead of just one.

in Washington state, the killing of an “unborn quick child” is manslaughter, according to a 1999 law.