Loophole Keeps Woman Free of Murder Charge
A Campbell County, Virginia, woman will not be charged for the death of her newborn baby.
The baby was born at home last Friday in Rustberg, and WSLS news spoke with sheriff's investigator Tracy Emerson who arrived mid-morning and discovered that the baby had been born ten hours earlier, but was dead before he arrived on the scene. "I believe everyone was upset except the person who should have been upset -- the mother," he says, explaining that the mother allegedly suffocated the child under bedding.
Regardless of the woman's actions, the investigator comments that the mother cannot be charged because of a loophole in state law. "In the state of Virginia, as long as the umbilical cord is attached and [the] placenta is still in the mother, if the baby comes out alive, the mother can do whatever she wants to that baby to kill it," Emerson reports. "She can shoot the baby, stab the baby or anything as long as it is still attached to her in some form by umbilical cord or something, and it's no crime in the state of Virginia."
Because of a similar incident that took place in the same county, police previously tried to convince lawmakers to take up the issue in the legislature, but they refused because they claimed the issue is too close to the topic of abortion. But as of now, Emerson concludes that "simply because the mother was there and the baby had not taken its own identity, allegedly at this point, it makes the baby not its own person," meaning this case is not one to be associated with murder.