A Texas man faces murder charges for beating his pregnant girlfriend so brutally that he killed her three-month unborn baby. Matthew Lara faces assault charges for severely beating his pregnant girlfriend and capital murder for killing her baby.
Here’s more on the charges the 18-year-old faces and what happened:
Lara’s bond was set at $1.1 million — $1 million for the charge of capital murder, and $100,000 for the charge of assault family violence. If he makes bond, he will be required to remain in house arrest and have no contact with the victim’s family.
Lara was arrested Sunday in the 1900 block of Rodd Field Road, where they found his girlfriend badly beaten. She was three-months pregnant at the time, and lost her baby.
Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said the Texas Legislature passed a law determining that life begins at conception, but when it comes to charging an individual with a crime where a fetus is concerned, it gets complicated. One of the factors in determining the charges include whether the perpetrator knew the victim was pregnant.
In the initial police report, known as the probable cause statement, the responding officers said that “Lara stated the victim, Amanda Quintanilla, is pregnant but he did not know if it was his baby.”
While the charges against Lara are capital murder and assault family violence, ultimately it will be up to a Grand Jury to decide what will and will not stand up in a court of law. It could be some time before the case goes to trial.
Texas has an unborn victims law providing justice for unborn children who are killed on injured in the commission of violent crimes against their mothers.
Under a law signed June 20, 2003, and effective September 1, 2003, the protections of the entire criminal code extend to “an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.” The law does not apply to “conduct committed by the mother of the unborn child” or to “a lawful medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed health care provider with the requisite consent.”
On two occasions, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a double murder conviction of a man who killed a pregnant women’s unborn children. The decisions further validate the constitutionality of the state’s unborn victims law, which pro-life advocates fought for to give justice to women and unborn children.