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Murder charges brought in death of unborn child

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–Murder charges have been brought under a new Arkansas law in an unborn child’s death that resulted from an attack on her mother, who was nine months pregnant.
Prosecutors charged three brothers with capital murder under the state’s Fetal Protection Law in the Aug. 26 death of the child, according to the Associated Press. It is the first test of the measure, which was enacted this year with the support of Gov. Mike Huckabee.
In bringing the charges, deputy prosecutor Melody Piazza said the mother’s boyfriend hired the young men to attack her and to kill the unborn baby. The men entered the couple’s Little Rock home with masks on and took the boyfriend to another room before kicking Shawana Pace, 23, in the abdomen, the police reported, according to AP. She pleaded with the men to spare her child, but one cursed and said, “Your baby is dying tonight,” according to a police affidavit.
Pace said from her hospital room she saw her dead baby, a girl, and she looked “perfect,” AP reported. Pace remained hospitalized Sept. 2. She said she had a broken wrist, bruises to her face and had to have her spleen removed, according to the report.
The men charged were Eric Beulah, 20; Derrick Witherspoon, 17; and Lonnie Beulah, 15. The boyfriend, Erik Bullock, 29, also will be charged with capital murder when he is arrested, Piazza said. Death or life in prison is the sentence for such a charge.
The Arkansas law under which the charges were brought makes it a crime to injure an unborn child after the 12th week of pregnancy but does not ban abortions, according to AP.
Similar legislation at the federal level has been introduced by Rep. Lindsay Graham, R.-S.C. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act would criminalize violence resulting in injury or death to an unborn child during the commission of a federal crime. The punishment for such an offense against an unborn child would correspond to the penalty provided if the same harm were inflicted upon the mother.