A Maryland man charged with murdering his pregnant girlfriend currently is not facing charges for killing her unborn baby.
Tyler Tessier, 33, of Maryland, allegedly killed his pregnant girlfriend, Laura Wallen, 31, and her unborn child in September and dumped Wallen’s body in a shallow grave in Damascus, Maryland, according to WTOP News.
Tessier only faces charges for his girlfriend’s death. However, the pro-life advocacy group Americans United for Life recently asked acting U.S. Attorney for Maryland Stephen Schenning to consider charging Tessier for the unborn baby’s death as well, according to the report.
“We respectfully urge that your office explore the possibility of asserting federal jurisdiction in this case, and if possible, initiate criminal prosecution of Tyler Tessier under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act for the murder of Laura Wallen’s unborn child,” AUL President Catherine Glenn Foster wrote.
Maryland does have a fetal homicide law; however, it only applies to unborn babies who are viable outside the womb. It also says that the person must have intended to cause harm or death to the unborn child or acted in a way that recklessly disregarded the potential of harming or killing the unborn child.
Wallen was four-months pregnant with her unborn child when they were killed, according to the report. By four months, an unborn child is nearly fully developed; however, they are not viable yet.
In September, Montgomery County attorney John McCarthy said Tessier probably would not be charged for the unborn baby’s death.
However, this week, a spokesperson for McCarthy responded to Foster’s letter by saying they have not ruled out charges for the unborn baby’s death.
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“We are working with our law enforcement partners and considering all our options at this point,” spokesperson Ramon Korionoff told the local news. “We will make a decision in the coming weeks based on the law and the evidence.”
Currently, 37 states have laws that recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances, according to the National Right to Life Committee. Soon to be 38, New Hampshire lawmakers recently passed a bill to protect unborn babies who are victims of non-abortion violence.
A few states still do not provide justice for unborn victims of violence. In 2015, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill to protect unborn victims in their state.
The bill was prompted by a gruesome crime involving Dynel Catrece Lane, who was arrested and later convicted for attacking a pregnant woman and cutting her 7-month unborn baby from her womb. In this unbelievable act of violence, the baby died but the mother, Michelle Wilkins, survived.
In 2016, a judge sentenced Lane to 100 years of prison for assaulting and attempting to murder Wilkins, but Lane did not face charges for Wilkins’ unborn daughter’s death.