Bessemer-area DA drops manslaughter case against woman charged after being shot while pregnant

BESSEMER, Ala. -- District Attorney Lynneice Washington, who serves Jefferson County-Bessemer Cutoff,  has been in the eye of the storm for a week.

But, that may have ended Wednesday with her announcement that manslaughter charges against Marshae Jones will be dismissed.

The DA's office filed a formal dismissal notice with the Jefferson County-Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Court Wednesday.

During a press conference Wednesday, Washington called the case a tragedy.  Jones was indicted last week for manslaughter after being shot during a fight while five months pregnant and losing the baby.

"Nothing we do today or in the future will change that reality," Washington said.

She said after reviewing the facts of the case and applicable state law, she decided to end the prosecution.

"I have determined that it is not in the best interests of justice to pursue prosecution of Ms. Jones," Washington said.

Jones' lawyers, had filed to dismiss the charges Monday. They argued state law doesn't allow a murder or manslaughter charge against a woman regarding her unborn child. And they called the basis for the charge "twisted.

"How in the world could you engage in a criminal prosecution," defense attorney Mark White complained. "Try to charge someone with a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and, all she was, was the victim?"

The case began with a fight between Jones and another woman outside a Bessemer Dollar General store.

The grand jury found Jones initiated the fight that resulted in the other woman shooting her, leading to the baby's death.

The grand jury decided it was Jones' fault.

DA Washington didn't criticize that finding.

"It is important to point out that our decision, my decision, not to prosecute Ms. Jones is in no way a criticism of the hardworking and conscientious members of the Jefferson County-Bessemer Cutoff grand jury," Washington said.

Jones has a young daughter.

After days of deep uncertainty, and a national outcry, the case against her appears over.

"I hereby am dismissing this case and no further legal action will be taken against Ms. Jones in this matter," Washington said.

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