Woman says Colerain Township shooting killed her unborn baby: How will that affect charges?

How 'feticide' laws work in Ohio
Posted at 6:58 AM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 19:24:57-04

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A woman who was shot at a gender reveal party in Colerain Township Saturday told WCPO her unborn baby died after she was shot in the leg.

Colerain Township Police Chief Mark Denney could not confirm -- but did not deny -- the death of an unborn baby in related to Saturday's shooting.

A 22-year-old woman was killed in the shooting. No suspects have been arrested. 

RELATED: Everything we know about Colerain Township gender reveal party shooting

If medical professionals deem the shooting as a direct cause of the unborn baby's death, can police charge the shooter or shooters with the death of an unborn baby?

In Ohio, the answer is "yes."

Ohio's fetal homicide laws recognize "an unborn member of the species homo sapiens who is or was carried in the womb of another" at any stage of prenatal development. If the fetus is killed, a suspect may be charged with aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide or vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular homicide.

Aggravated murder is a capital charge with the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty, according to Ohio Revised Code 2929.02.

In January 2015, a Dayton man, Tanner Hopkins, was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault and weapons charges after he beat his girlfriend and caused the death of her unborn baby. In 2016, he was found guilty of seven counts, including murder.

In 2007, Canton Police Officer Bobby Lee Cutts Jr. was charged with two counts of aggravated murder after he killed 26-year-old Jessie Davis, who was pregnant with a nearly full-term daughter. Cutts was found guilty on both counts and sentenced to life in prison.