On Wednesday, the Montgomery Advertiser reported that Alabama District Attorney Lynneice Washington is dropping the manslaughter charge against Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old African-American woman who made national news after she was charged with manslaughter for being shot in the stomach and losing her pregnancy.
Police initially argued that she was culpable for the death of her fetus under Alabama state law, which grants personhood rights to fetuses for the purpose of homicide cases, because she allegedly instigated the fight with 23-year-old Ebony Jemison in December that led to her being shot. Prosecutors initially sought to try both women for the incident, but a grand jury determined that Jemison shot in self defense and only indicted Jones — which quickly attracted outrage around the country.
The case against Jones began falling apart as soon as the indictment was handed down. Multiple legal experts argued that Alabama’s personhood law does not, in fact, allow a woman to be prosecuted for her own miscarriage, and that fetal personhood can only justify homicide charges against the person who made the woman miscarry. Jones’ lawyer also revealed that law enforcement barely spent any time questioning Jones, talking to her for only 15 minutes in the hospital before she was prosecuted.
“The District Attorney’s decision will help Marshae continue to heal from this tragic event and work to rebuild her life in a positive and productive way. She moves forward with enormous gratitude for the support she and her family have received during this challenging time,” said Jones’ attorneys in a statement. “With the dismissal of charges, the community of support that surrounded Marshae can now channel its immense passion and energy toward ensuring that what happened to Marshae won’t ever happen again.”