The case against Florida abortion center owner Belkis Gonzalez who was arrested on two felony counts related to the death of a baby in a bizarre abortion case, has been dropped because witnesses have changed their story.
In the abortion incident, a young woman named 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 but, instead, gave birth to a baby named Shanice.
Abortion practitioner Pierre Renelique did not show up for a scheduled abortion, causing Shanice to be born alive. When that happened, 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. The baby’s body had decomposed by the time authorities found it a week later.
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 faced a minimum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine and she could have received a maximum of 15 years in prison on the unlicensed medicine charge and five years for tampering with evidence.
But, now, none of the charges are going forward.
Miami-Dade prosecutors told the Miami Herald that they have abandoned the case after defense attorneys asked a local judge to dismiss the case. Prosecutors agreed, according to Ed Griffith, a Miami-Dade State Attorney’s spokesman.
“This case was based on doctors’ testimony and medical evidence. The doctors changed their positions, leaving us without a prosecutable case,” he told the herald.
Defense attorney Al Milian told the newspaper, “We worked closely with the State Attorney’s Office, and discovered there wasn’t any evidence to justify a criminal prosecution.”
At the time the charges were handed down, pro-life advocates wanted something more serious for the taking of the life of a prematurely newborn baby.
“While murder charges would be ideal, the current law does not allow for that given the facts of this case,” Operation Rescue spokeswoman Cheryl Sullenger said. “Baby Shanice Osbourne was under the 24 week legal requirement that Florida law specifies must be reached before murder charges can be used. To charge Gonzalez under the current law would be to insure that she goes free. It’s not right, but that is the unfortunate reality.”
“Gonzalez is a dangerous woman. It is important to get her off the street,” Sullenger said. “She needs to be behind bars any legal way we can get her there.”
Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, previously said 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 abortion practitioner in the case, Pierre Renelique, saw the Board of Medicine revoke his medical license in February, 2009.