A 23-year-old South Carolina man accused of shooting his five-months pregnant girlfriend and burning her body in the woods has been charged with two counts of homicide under the state’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
The State newspaper reported on Tuesday that Tristan Gist is charged with murder and death or injury of a child in utero due to the commission of a violent crime, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts tentatively identified the victim Dierra Fisher, 22, of Columbia, S.C.
Gist is accused of shooting Fisher once in the head, driving her body to a wooded area, then burning her body. Gist brought Fisher’s two small children with him in the car as he drove to burn her body, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
The State reported, “Gist was the father of one of the children, according to reports. It has not been determined whether Gist was the father of Fisher’s unborn baby.”
South Carolina Citizens for Life was instrumental in promoting the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, according to Holly Gatling, Executive Director of South Carolina Citizens for Life.
“I am a former newspaper reporter who primarily covered crime,” Ms. Gatling said. “I covered some terrible cases, but this is one of the most horrible in my memory. Criminals who cause the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, in justice, should be charged with two deaths. I am grateful that South Carolina recognizes a baby in the womb as an individual, second victim of crime.”
According to The State, firefighters responding to a brush fire in the 3800 block of Screaming Eagle Extension Thursday afternoon discovered the burning body in the woods. The victim was burned so badly that the firefighters who discovered the burning body could not identify the gender.
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The coroner said the victim has family in New Jersey and Kansas, and those relatives have been notified.
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. He writes National Right to Life News Today — an online column on pro-life issues.