A Maryland man may not face charges for allegedly killing his eight-month unborn son as well as the baby’s mother and sister on Friday in Southwest Baltimore.
The Baltimore Sun reports Devon Sample, 24, is accused of shooting Shiand Miller and her daughter, Shaniya Gilmore, 3, and leaving their bodies in a vehicle. He is facing multiple charges related to their deaths.
Miller’s unborn son also died, but it is not clear if there will be justice for him. And the only reason is because he was not yet born.
According to police, Miller was arrested Saturday and charged with murder, assault and committing a crime of violence against a pregnant woman, among other things.
The pregnancy-related violence charge is new in Maryland.
In 2019, state lawmakers passed a law to increase the consequences for killing a pregnant woman. Those convicted of the charge face up to 10 years in prison.
The legislation ran into abortion politics before it passed. According to The Sun, a 2018 version of the bill recognized unborn babies as victims along with their mothers.
Here’s more from the report:
The 2018 bill would have made it a crime to kill a fetus that had reached at least eight weeks gestation. That’s a significant difference from existing Maryland law on killing a fetus, which allows for charges only when a “viable” fetus is killed, generally considered to be about 24 weeks.
That version of Laura and Reid’s Law drew opposition from abortion rights organizations. The bill failed in 2018.
When [state Sen. Justin Ready] brought it back for another try in 2019, he agreed to work with opponents to revise it. The compromise made it against the law to commit a crime of violence, such as an assault or murder, against a person if the perpetrator knows or believes the victim is pregnant.
Ready, R-Carroll County, said pregnant women often are victims of violence, and they deserve better protections under the law.
“If a woman has chosen to have and keep a pregnancy and someone knows that and is knowingly ending that pregnancy without her permission, that is a heinous act. I thought it should be treated as murder,” Ready said. “We compromised to treat it as another felony.”
Miller’s unborn son was viable, so his death may still receive justice under the earlier law. It is not clear from reports if Sample will be charged with fetal homicide.
Unborn victims of violence, or fetal homicide, laws are on the books in 37 states; they recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn baby as homicide in at least some circumstances. However, New York and Illinois repealed their laws as part of larger pro-abortion legislation in 2019.
Soon after the New York law passed, a pregnant woman was stabbed to death in New York City. Anthony Hobson, 48, of Rego Park, the man accused of murdering Jennifer Irigoyen, is not facing charges for the death of her five-month unborn child.
Initially, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Hobson would be charged with second-degree abortion in the death of Irigoyen’s unborn baby. However, a spokeswoman later told the New York Post that Hobson will not face the abortion charge because it “was repealed by the legislature.”