A Washington, D.C. man accused of setting his pregnant girlfriend on fire because he did not want her to have the baby was found not guilty Thursday.
The disturbing case is a reminder of how frequently abuse, pregnancy and abortion are connected.
WTOP News reports the Prince George County jury found Laquinn Phillips, of Southeast D.C., not guilty on all charges, including arson and attempted first-degree murder.
A second suspect, Johnathan Miller III, 27, of Temple Hills, Maryland, still faces attempted first-degree murder and other charges in the alleged crime, according to the report.
According to court testimony, Phillips allegedly threatened his pregnant girlfriend Andrea Grinage on multiple occasions and urged her not to have her third child. Though reports do not specifically mention the word abortion, it appears that is what Phillips wanted Grinage to do.
In September 2017, Phillips and Miller allegedly started a fire in Grinage’s second-floor apartment in Maryland, according to the report.
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Here’s more from the report:
Prosecutors said Phillips forced the woman into the bathtub of her apartment, poured gasoline on her and set her on fire.
Investigators said she was forced to deliver her daughter prematurely at 33 weeks.
Both the baby and woman are now healthy.
In a horrifying account, witnesses later told police that they saw Grinage run out of her apartment covered in flames. ABC 7 reports she was taken to the hospital and treated for serious burns all over her body.
Fox 45 News reports Phillips’ lawyer claimed Grinage lit herself on fire. He also said the forensic evidence did not match up with the allegations against Phillips.
Violence against pregnant women and their unborn babies is common – even without counting abortion. In the United States, one in six women is first abused during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Sometimes the abuse occurs after the woman refuses her partner’s demands to have an abortion. In a case in Pennsylvania, a man allegedly beat and choked his pregnant girlfriend after she refused to have an abortion in 2015. LifeNews reported another case in 2016 where police arrested a Tennessee man after his pregnant girlfriend accused him of kicking and hitting her when she told him that she would not abort their baby.
Several studies also have linked domestic violence to abortion. In these cases, some women were forced or pressured by partners into having abortions, while others believed having an abortion would help them escape abuse.