Monday, July 30, 2012

Colorado Theater Shooter Won’t be Charged for Killing Unborn Baby

Alleged Colorado theater shooter James Holmes appeared in court today and was charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the horrific shooting during the opening of the latest “Batman” movie.

Although prosecutors want to hold him accountable for the death of each and every person who died or he attempted to kill that evening, Holmes will not be charged with killing an unborn child. That’s because Colorado is one of more than a dozen states that does not recognize unborn children as people before birth for the purposes of criminal law.

Ashley Moser, who was wounded in the July 20 shooting in Aurora, had a miscarriage that resulted in the death of her unborn child. Her family released a statement over the weekend saying Moser is recovering from surgery to treat the gunshot wounds to her neck and abdomen but they caused her to have a miscarriage that killed her baby.

Moser, 25, is also the mother of the youngest victim of the shooting spree—six-year-old Veronica-Moser Sullivan. She was shot multiple times, including once in the stomach and she is expected to live.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, passed in 2004 and signed into law by President Bush, recognizes an unborn child as a second victim in a crime committed against a pregnant mother. The law, passed after the high-profile deaths of Laci and Connor Peterson, sparked the passage of numerous new state laws that also offer legal protection and justice for mothers and their unborn children who are victims of violent crimes outside the context of abortion. Colorado was not one of the states to approve such a law.

As a result, Holmes won’t be held accountable for killing Moser’s baby. As AP reports:

Defense attorney Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor and current adjunct professor at the University of Denver, said homicide charges in Colorado only apply to those “who had been born and alive.” “Legally, it doesn’t fit the definition” in this case, she said.

State lawmakers have tried to change the law and, during the last legislative session, El Paso County Rep. Mark Waller sponsored a bill to charge criminals with killing or injuring unborn children in violent crimes. However, as has happened before, the Democrat-controlled legislature rejected it — making false claims that it would limit abortions.

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