Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington announced Wednesday afternoon that she has dropped the manslaughter case against Marshae Jones, the Alabama woman who was charged in the death of her fetus when she was shot in the stomach during an argument.
District Attorney for the Bessemer Cutoff #Lynneice Washington is dismissing the case of #MarshaeJones and says no further legal action will be taken. “In the interest of all concerned we are not prosecuting this case,” Washington says. pic.twitter.com/cTSTmTE9Xz
— Sherrel Stewart (@4newzscoop) July 3, 2019
Jones was not at the DA’s office when Washington, pictured above in the white jacket, announced her decision not to pursue the charges. Washington said that after reviewing the facts of the case and applicable state law she determined it was “not in the best interest of justice to pursue prosecution.” She added that the member of the grand jury that indicted Jones “heard literally hundreds of cases” in April and her decision to drop the charges is “in no way a criticism of the hardworking and conscientious members” of them.
The case attracted international attention and mixed reactions from Alabamians. Initially, Ebony Jemison was charged, but the grand jury ruled that Jemison shot in self defense and that Jones had instigated the fight, refused to back down, and ultimately was responsible for the death of the fetus.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones spent eight years as a prosecutor, including four as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Appearing on NPR’s 1A today, Jones said he would have never charged her.
“The perpetrator who shot the firearm … if it was a self defense case, so be it. Don’t charge that person,” Jones said. “But I think it’s a real stretch to charge [Jones] with manslaughter based on a law that has been on the books for a long time.”
The law he referred to is Alabama’s chemical endangerment law. That law, plus other cases like Jones’, have prompted heated public debates over the meaning of personhood and the criminalization of pregnancy.