A horrific murder case involving the deaths of a mother and her 8-month-old unborn son is playing out in Rhode Island this week.
Police arrested and charged Born Smith with beating Aliss Collins to death, killing her unborn child and then setting her apartment on fire on Wednesday, according to the Providence Journal.
Police are unsure if Smith, the “intimate partner” of Aliss Collins, was the father of her unborn child, but they are investigating. Reports also do not indicate whether Smith pressured Collins to have an abortion, as is common in some cases. The family said Smith and Collins often fought.
Smith was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and the willful killing of an unborn child, as well as domestic first-degree arson, the report states.
Fire police found Collins unresponsive on her bathroom floor on Friday in her Providence, Rhode Island apartment after being called to the fire, according to the report. She was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where she and her unborn son were pronounced dead from “blunt force injuries” and smoke inhalation.
“This crime is particularly heinous,” said Providence Police Colonel Michael J. Winquist during a press conference, “… as it took the life of both an expecting mother and her unborn child.”
Stephanie Alexander, who was a friend of Collins, said they spoke often about getting ready for her son’s birth. Collins had a C-section scheduled for Dec. 4, according to the report.
“She was so happy, so excited to be a mother,” Alexander told the newspaper. “She couldn’t wait to meet her son.”
Alexander said Collins did not have other children; she previously had a miscarriage at six months.
“She was excited that this time, it was really going to happen for her,” Alexander said. “She was going to be a mom.”
Rhode Island law protects some unborn babies when they are victims of violence. The killing of an “unborn quick child,” or viable unborn child, is manslaughter in Rhode Island, according to the National Right to Life Committee. Collins’ son, at 8-months, was viable and is therefore recognized by state law.