A man allegedly responsible for a gruesome mass-murder at a home in Alabama has been charged with killing six people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, the AP reports.
Authorities said Derrick Dearman, 27, of Leakesville, Mississippi, turned himself in on Saturday and confessed to the crimes. He is accused of attacking and murdering the victims in their sleep at their Alabama home, and then abducting his estranged girlfriend, Laneta Lester, and an infant from the same home. Authorities said the girlfriend and infant are alive.
The murder victims include Chelsea Marie Reed, 22, and her 5-month unborn child, according to the report. Dearman is charged with six counts of capital murder, including the death of the unborn child, the report states.
Police said they found the bodies on Saturday afternoon in the rural community of Citronelle, Alabama. Mobile County Sheriff Captain Paul Burch described the mass murder as an “awful, awful tragedy” that is “unprecedented” for the small-town community. He called the crime scene “horrific.”
Authorities said multiple weapons were used including a firearm and possibly an ax. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said the victims were “brutally and viciously murdered.”
Dearman’s relationship to all of the victims are not yet known, police said.
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His ex-wife Crystal Dearman told reporters that he has a bad temper and once woke her up when he held a knife to her throat in bed.
The law in Alabama recognizes unborn babies as victims of violent crimes. Many states have laws protecting unborn babies from violence – except abortion.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 37 states recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances. The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, enacted April 1, 2004, covers unborn victims of federal and military crimes.
Of the 37 states, 29 of them offer justice and protection for women and unborn children throughout pregnancy while another 10 offer limited protections.
In 2015, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill to protect unborn babies who are killed or injured in violent crimes against their mothers. The bill was proposed after a 7-months pregnant Colorado woman was attacked and her unborn baby was cut out of her womb. The mother survived but her unborn child died in the attack. In February, Dynel Catrece Lane was convicted of attempted murder for attacking the mother, but she was not held accountable for the unborn child’s death.