Marshae Jones is an Alabama woman who was shot in the stomach while five months pregnant and later charged with manslaughter in her fetus’ death after police said she initiated the dispute that led to her being shot.
Jones, 27, was indicted Wednesday by a Jefferson County grand jury, AL.com reports.
Police said that although Jones did not fire the shots, officials determined that she initiated the fight with the shooter, 23-year-old Ebony Jemison.
Jemison had been charged with manslaughter but the charge was dismissed after a grand jury failed to indict her.
Police say the 2018 shooting occurred during a dispute over the unborn child’s father.
Jones has been released from Jefferson County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Marshae Jones’ Assailant Was Initially Charged But Police Later Reversed the Charges
Police say Marshae Jones and Ebony Jemison got into a dispute over Jones’ unborn baby’s father on December 4, 2018 outside of a Dollar General store, AL.com reported last year. ABC Birmingham reported that Jones was inside of a car when she was shot.
First responders arrived to the scene to find that Jones had been taken to a convenience store in nearby Fairfield. She was taken to UAB Hospital.
Jones was hospitalized and survived but her fetus did not survive. She was five months pregnant at the time.
Jemison was initially charged with murder but the charge was later revised to manslaughter.
2. Pleasant Grove Lt. Danny Reid Said, ‘Let’s Not Lose Sight Here, the Unborn Baby Is the Victim Here’
Reid told AL.com that the fight stemmed over the unborn child’s father.
Police said Jones initiated and escalated the fight that led to her being shot.
“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,’’ Reid told the outlet. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.”
“All indications and all evidence point to the fact of the victim or the other of the unborn child was the aggressor, she is no longer listed as the victim, the only victim we have here is that unborn child,” Reid told WIAT.
3. At the Time of the Shooting, Lt. Danny Reid Said That Jones’ Involvement in the Case Would Be Presented to a Grand Jury
Jemison was charged with murder but police amended the charge to manslaughter, AL.com reported last year.
The charge against her was dismissed after a grand jury failed to indict her, AL.com reported this week. Police had said that Jemison was forced to defend herself after Jones initiated and pressed the fight.
Though Jemison was the only one charged at the time, Pleasant Grove Lt. Danny Reid told AL.com in 2018 that “the mother’s involvement and culpability will be presented to a grand jury” as well.
4. A Grand Jury Felt That Jones Has Sought ‘Out Unnecessary Physical Altercations’
Jones was indicted on a manslaughter charge by a grand jury and taken into custody Wednesday.
“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,” Reid told AL.com. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”
“When a 5-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child,” he said. “That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”
5. The Yellowhammer Fund Is Vowing to Fight for Jones’ Case
The Yellowhammer Fund, which helps women get abortion services, issued a statement to AL.com Wednesday vowing to fight for justice for Jones, who the group said was wrongly charged.
“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act,’’ Executive Director Amanda Reyes said in the statement.“
“Today, Marshae Jones is being charged with manslaughter for being pregnant and getting shot while engaging in an altercation with a person who had a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care,” the statement said.
Reyes vowed to make sure that Jones is “released from jail on bond” and vowed to assist her with legal representation so that “she gets justice for the multiple attacks that she has endured.”