Mom who starved baby to death gets new trial; jury "prejudiced" because she considered abortion

Keeping abortion legal is harder than people think. The courts must always be on guard since legalized abortion is an aberrancy in the law, defying logic, common sense, and morality, and running contrary to all other laws protecting innocent human life.

amy stephenson.jpgKilling innocent preborns, either intentionally or unintentionally, is increasingly illegal in almost all circumstances except abortion. Of course, killing innocent postborns of any age is always illegal.

The following story about Amy Stephenson, pictured right, demonstrates the hoops courts will jump to keep abortion separate from all other murders, particularly of newborns. To even suggest the desire to kill one's preborn baby may translate to killing the same postborn baby is anathema....

And since the law of the land maintains it is perfectly normal for a mother to kill her preborn baby, to compare that in any way to the homicide of her postborn baby is enough to throw a solid case out of court.

One other point, after 40 years of legalized and supposedly legitimized abortion, the word and the act are still assumed to connotate adverse reactions.

And so the Miami Herald reported yesterday:

key largo, abortion.png

Amy Stephenson, who has served 2 years of a 25-year sentence for letting her baby girl Jasmine starve to death in her home in Key Largo, may get a new trial.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that while there was sufficient evidence to support the guilty verdict for aggravated manslaughter of a child, Stevenson did not get a fair trial.

The reason: The prosecution prejudiced the 12-person jury against Stephenson by questioning her about contemplating an abortion while she was pregnant with her daughter and emphasizing that point in closing arguments....

Senior Judge Alan Schwartz wrote in the opinion that abortion is one of the most inflammatory issues of our time, "and, more important, that one who takes or even approves of this course is very adversely regarded by many in our society.''

The FL Attorney General's Office is likely to file a motion for rehearing within 30 days. If the appellate court denies the rehearing or affirms the decision, the case will come back to Monroe Co. for retrial....

In the meantime, Stephenson, now 29, will remain behind bars at the Broward Correctional Institution....

Stephen's 3rd child, Jasmine Marie Thomas, entered the world 3 months prematurely in 2005, weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces.

But after 6 months in the hospital, with care that included heart surgery and 8 eye operations, Jasmine came home weighing a little more than 8 pounds and looking like a newborn with chubby cheeks.

7 months later, Jasmine was dead from malnutrition. She was 13 months old. She weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces.

The jury in Key West gasped in horror when they saw autopsy photos that showed bones protruding from her wrinkled skin and fatless body.

Prosecutors said the person responsible was her stay-at-home mother, Stephenson, who failed to take the child to doctor appointments, give her needed medicine and oxygen or feed her properly.

The jury took 90 minutes to come back with a guilty verdict for the 1st-degree felony....

The opinion stated that the decision to reverse the 25-year sentence and give Stephenson a new trial was based solely on the "fundamental error'' of bringing up her contemplation of abortion.

Catherine Vogel, who tried the case for the Monroe Co. SA's Office... said... "I believe that if a mother doesn't want to have a child, that's relevant in determining whether or not they would be neglectful. But it was such a fleeting question and fleeting comment.''

During the 7-day trial, the issue was brought up once during Vogel's cross-examination of Stephenson and briefly in her closing argument.

Q: You had thought about terminating your pregnancy; is that correct?

A: When I first learned I was pregnant.

Q: And that's part of the reason you had late prenatal care; isn't that correct?

A: No.

In closing, Vogel said: "Then, of course, the defendant testified. She admitted at first she was ambivalent about whether or not she wanted this baby at all."

The appellate court's ruling stated the prosecutor exacerbated the prejudicial testimony in final argument, which was "probably unnecessary given the quantity of incriminating evidence in the record."

Vogel said she was surprised to learn about the appeal's court reversal considering that Stephenson's defense team did not object during the trial.


Comments:

What utter crap. I'm in law school and my evidence class just finished the unit on evidence. Even if you agree with the abortion being unduly prejudicial, the conviction should have been affirmed on "harmless error" grounds. In other words, since she would have been convicted anyway, her right to a fair trial wasn't violated.

I actually think that evidence that she considered abortion would be more prejudicial with a PRO-ABORTION jury. Since they think that abortion is NOT killing, and that it prevents suffering, they might think "She had every opportunity to prevent this before the child 'became human,' but she didn't." Pro-lifers, on the other hand, would just note that she postponed the murder by a few months.

But ultimately, I agree with Jill's point. This is an example of the mental gymnastics our legal system will go through to maintain the fiction that abortion has nothing in common with infanticide.

Posted by: Kelsey at March 5, 2010 7:25 AM


*unit on prejudice. It's early.

Posted by: Kelsey at March 5, 2010 7:31 AM


The unit on prejudice, I mean. It's too early in the morning...

Posted by: Kelsey at March 5, 2010 7:34 AM


What is going on with my computer?!? Sorry mods. I'll stop.

Posted by: Kelsey at March 5, 2010 7:37 AM


Wait wait wait wait wait.
So you're telling me that they don't think the fact that she considered abortion could have played at all into the motive of failing to care for that child once it was born??
Am I getting that right?
We truly live in liberal la la land.

Posted by: Scott at March 5, 2010 7:37 AM


So now, are legislators going to make abortion retroactive to the age of 18 years & free parental murderers of children who are serving time on the basis that abortion is "legal" & may have been considered by a egg contributor during pregnancy or wanted by a sperm donor? I can just see the wheels turning in the "choicers" heads. Sickening & sad.:(....I can't stand the word anymore.

Posted by: Rebecca M. Brooks at March 5, 2010 7:47 AM


Are you F*ing kidding me. The woman starved her baby to death. We're not even talking a newborn here, this child was 8 months old. Suddenly, because she once thought to have an abortion, that is ok?

WHAT THE HELL!? Look, idiots in Key West, abortion is legal only because of the issues surrounding bodily domain. The fact that she didn't want to be a mommy are completely irrelevent. This woman starved her child to death. I don't care if she thought the kid was the second coming of Satan, she needs to be behind bars.

I haven't been this angry in a long, long time. Of course all the "feminists" are probably cheering.

Posted by: Lauren at March 5, 2010 7:48 AM


This reminds me of (I think) Nate Sheet's "trot out the toddler" arguement. Basically, if you can't do it to a toddler, you can't do it to a preborn.

Well, it looks like the pro-aborts are taking this mentality backwards.

God help us.

Posted by: Lauren at March 5, 2010 8:01 AM


Ok, nevermind. I see that I misread it the first time. The issue isn't that they wanted to mention the abortion, but that they didn't want to mention the abortion. That makes zero sense, but is not quite as outrageous.

Posted by: Lauren at March 5, 2010 8:04 AM


I have a feeling that the new trial is going to send her right back to prison. Having said that, it's ridiculous that she's getting a new trial in the first place.

Posted by: Marauder at March 5, 2010 8:12 AM


The real problem here is the past and continuing failure of the unborn human rights movement to win this struggle. We have allowed the abortionists to completely control our society for nearly forty years now. In addition to killing 50,000,000 human beings, they have also done great damage to our society, culture and legal system.

Actually, opponents of unborn human rights were able to win fairly quickly and easily in almost all western societies. Our movement was not able to stop them then and has been consistently unable to stop them since them.

I do not see much in our movement right now which would convince me that we now know how to defeat the abortionists. Sadly, we may have to deal with the type of idiocy we see in this court case for a long time to come. This means that we may have to put up with abortion violence for a long time as well.

Posted by: Joe at March 5, 2010 8:17 AM


"This reminds me of (I think) Nate Sheet's "trot out the toddler" arguement."

I think it's Scott Klusendorff's argument, Lauren, but Nate might use it a lot too.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 5, 2010 8:29 AM


Thanks Bobby. I couldn't remember where I saw it.

Posted by: Lauren at March 5, 2010 8:30 AM


I think it's big in his new book "The Case for Life."

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 5, 2010 8:32 AM


Oops, one f in Klusendorf.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 5, 2010 8:34 AM


In cases such as this, the crime committed is so abhorrent that I feel compelled to believe that a serious mental illness was operative. Perhaps the thought that this could have been anything other than a complete break with reality is simply too overwhelming a thought for me to abide.

I think of the Texas mother who drowned her five children, chasing one of them around the house as he ran for his life...

Is this not severe psychosis, or have the gates of hell literally opened in our midst? It's simply more than I can comprehend either intellectually or emotionally.

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at March 5, 2010 8:42 AM


Must be something in the water in Florida. Thus kind of thing can be directly laid at the feet of the culture of death and the dehumanization of children they espouse. Pity also the children growing up knowing they were completely expendable and mommy would have whacked them without a backward glance, they are alive only thanks to 'circumstance.' Lovely way to instill confidence and reverence for life in a child, isnt it?

Posted by: Jill Guidry at March 5, 2010 8:54 AM


So if you can't starve a born baby to death...why should you do RU 486 that starves the pre born baby to death. It does take some mental gymnastics to say okay here but not here. Remember Scott's SLED argurment.

Posted by: Susie Allen at March 5, 2010 8:56 AM


I have no words. God help us.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at March 5, 2010 9:01 AM


It says that this woman was a stay at home mom. My questions is: where was the father?

Posted by: Phillymiss at March 5, 2010 9:33 AM


Legally this is the direction we're slipping. Senator Obama taught us that women have more than just a legal right to abortion. They have a right to a dead baby.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at March 5, 2010 9:41 AM


Good question, Phillymiss....and if the father was in the picture, why is HE not culpable?

Posted by: Pamela at March 5, 2010 9:48 AM


God, I...I don't even know how to comment on this...

Posted by: Vannah at March 5, 2010 10:08 AM


Unbelievable. How horrible.

Posted by: Lucy at March 5, 2010 10:28 AM


Posted by: Bobby Bambino at March 5, 2010 8:29 AM
-----

Actually Bobby - IIRC, Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf came up with the "trot out the toddler" approach while Scott was with Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org

They have an excellent book called Pro-life 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at March 5, 2010 11:19 AM


Ah, very good, Chris. I even have that book! For shame...

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at March 5, 2010 11:22 AM


With the declaration of a mistrial, the appeals court is actually admitting that abortion is equivalent to the killing of an innocent human being. There's really no other way to spin it.

And in that sense, Judge Schwartz and the appeals court are indicating there was premeditation, moving from willful negligence to murder.


Posted by: Chris Arsenault at March 5, 2010 11:45 AM


What hypocrisy! To say it is murder in all cases but abortion is intellectual inconsistency. I wish people would use basic reasoning and logic.

Posted by: why does abortion exist? at March 5, 2010 2:12 PM


Okay, this was really, really hard for me to read. It's already hard to hear about when a parent does this sort of thing because then you're forced to think about that poor child and what they went through (and this is the same in regards to abortion). But it especially hit home for me for one reason: my third baby is 6 months old now. He was born 3 months early at 1lb 9oz. He thankfully was only in the hospital for about 2 1/2 months and hasn't suffered any long-term effects of his prematurity other than being small and having his development along the lines of his adjusted, rather than his actual age. But I think of that poor, helpless baby girl and I also think of my sweet baby boy. How? How could anyone do such a thing? How?! It is taking every once of strength I have to not burst into sobs. My heart aches for the loss of this little angel baby girl. She never did anything to deserve that slow, tormenting death her mother sentenced her to (and for that matter, pre-born children are equally innocent and undeserving of the horrific deaths their mothers sentence them to).

With that said, I have to completely agree with Jill's point in the article! As hard as it is to hear these sorts of things... the deaths of children (whether preborn or postborn) at the hands of their mothers... thank you for sharing!

Posted by: Julie P. at March 6, 2010 1:09 AM


Nope! Put her in prison! That where she belongs for life!

Posted by: Heather at March 6, 2010 6:56 PM


Keeping abortion legal is harder than people think. The courts must always be on guard since legalized abortion is an aberrancy in the law, defying logic, common sense, and morality, and running contrary to all other laws protecting innocent human life.

Yep.

Posted by: Louise at March 6, 2010 7:50 PM


"But after 6 months in the hospital, with care that included heart surgery and 8 eye operations, Jasmine came home weighing a little more than 8 pounds and looking like a newborn with chubby cheeks."
She spent 7 months starving to death after all that surgery & intense hospitalization. Why wasn't the hospital doing f/u calls & visits? At the very least the hospital should have offered assistance through their social worker & made f/u calls which might have resulted in some kind of intervention before this tragedy occurred. Sounds like her case was difficult & just the medication regimine was probably complicated. This alone would justify this assistance. Mother, father, hospital, social workers, & law enforcement failed this little girl. All should be ashamed.

Posted by: Rebecca M Brooks at March 7, 2010 11:31 AM


People go to prison for far lesser crimes than this. Even passing bad checks or just beating someone up will get you mucho time. What makes her think this is okay? She murdered someone. Her baby girl!! She may have a mental issue, but so do a lot of folks in prison. Scott Peterson is a certified nut. He just killed his wife because he wanted that kid aborted. He just aborted his wife in the process. How nice. He aborted his wife and Conner. His girlfriend aborted his child while they were in college. His mom wanted her to! We need to stop legalized killing of children before it's too late. We have allowed child killing, and now we are paying a HUGE price! Girls are seeing their born kids as desposible. Infanticide is happening a lot! The evil root started with abortion.....God help us!!

Posted by: heather at March 8, 2010 2:51 PM


Can Scott Peterson get a new trial because he wanted lacy [sorry my capital l isn't working...............to have an abortion? Read the book about Scott! He did not want a baby!! His wife was pretty much told she was infertile, so Scotty boy jumped on it! Talk about the best of both worlds. "I don't want kids"!!!!! Then, surprise!! lacy got pregnant, and Scott was piss*d! "Please have an abortion lacy." lacy was thrilled to be preggo. This world is insane. I swear to God it is! I mean, let's just be fair. If this nut gets another trial because she considered abortion, we might as well give Peterson a new trial too! After all, he considered abortion too! It just wasn't HIS body! @@ double eye roll!!!!!!

Posted by: heather at March 8, 2010 3:08 PM


I knew this girl and I can tell you she absolutely did not starve her baby. The papers write whatever they want, in order to ceate "gasps" to increase paper sales. Did you fail to research the details of this issue? Did you fail to see there were sveral bottles (used) around the house, photographed- when the police came to investigate the deat of the baby (when the call to 911 was made)...did you also know that the best pediatricial in the upper Keys (Dr. Zuba) had een the child days before the death- and testified that the baby was in ok shape, given its health conditions and super-preemie birth? Did you know that autopsy photos of an infant do not show what an infant actually looked like at time of dath- only what it looked like at time of autopsy (much changes in those days/hours). No, you didn't because we, in general, love dirty laundry and LOVE to discuss and throw around our personal (yet uneducated guesses) opinions on matters. Now try being true Christians- not judging, not accusing- and giving this girl the grace and mercy she deserves- what we all deserve. I know how the justice system works and how if you don't have $$ you are utterly at the mercy of the "game"- the DA needing victorious "wins" in order to creat more belt nothches- which lead to better reputation in order to become a judge later on or a "win, win, win" attorney, after the DA term ends- and all public defenders are rookies who will do anything to rub ebows with the DA and judge, in order to win at their own game, as well. Shame on you egg-throwers. She DIDN'T have an abortion- yet you still judge...

Posted by: Cristal at March 8, 2010 8:25 PM


This woman, even if she is mentally ill, is an absolute monster. A person that does this must be a sociopath with no conscience whatsoever. Did the prosecution ever talk about how this poor,precious, innocent baby girl probably cried out for days screaming in agonizing pain for food and water? This wicked woman should be put away for life for torture and murder.

Posted by: Doe at March 8, 2010 11:31 PM


If you followed this story from day one you would know that the baby was born very early, and only weighed one pound. She had many, many surgeries and was in the hospital for 6 months. I knew this girl, and she was a kind and sweet waitress at a diner I frequented. She did not kill nor starve her baby- her baby died of SIDS but all the variables were skewed and distorted by the prosecutor- as poor people cannot defend themselves with public defenders against powerful DA's.

I knew a couple of babies born that small, who also did not make it longer than a year or so. And they were incredibly tiny, as well. If you go back, though and look at all the articles, you will see that the baby was seen by a very good pediatrician before she died and everything looked on track, given the incedibly low birth weight and super-preemie status- as well as the innumerable health issues this baby girl faced. The mother probably had to live with her family in order to afford the child-care costs and time it takes to raise a family of 4 as well as a special needs baby. Especially a single mother.

And obviously, she HAD the baby, so anyone throwing eggs about "considering" abortion- many women consider all options, especially if they are poor. But she made the choice to have her baby. Now she is in the "game" of the judicial system and all we can do is pray for her.

Posted by: Mom2 at March 9, 2010 8:59 AM


How did her baby die? Isn't that the question? I don't know her, I am not familiar with her story but I find this whole situation absolutely tragic and yet.....who but this mother knows what happened?


I keep forgetting that only non Christians get to judge others and their actions. Silly me.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at March 9, 2010 12:52 PM


She died in her sleep. There were no tests ordered to show she may have had some abnormality such as a protien processing and other diseases, which are absolutely commonplace in "super-preemies" (1 pounders or less). The medical examiner said she had no food or drink in her stomach- nobody does when they wake up. It's called 8+ hours of fasting (sleeping)- that is why breakfast is called breakfast. This poor girl is living an absolute nightmare right now and we as Christians need to show her grace and mercy. God knows her way and as in Job- when she is tried, she shall come forth as gold.

Posted by: Mom2 at March 9, 2010 1:41 PM


Hi Mom2,
So......where can I find the links to the news articles that state it was SIDS? Why is she on trial?

The mere thought of a 1 year old weighing 6 pounds makes me shudder.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at March 9, 2010 3:33 PM


Mom2, you must know more than the prosecuters and police in this case. If this had been unintentional, I'm sure we'll see her walk free after the new trial. I didn't know Scott Peterson either, but I heard a few facts about the case. I'm assuming a jury heard more than I was able to read about, yet they still found him guilty. She was tried, evidence was brought forth, she was convicted. Also, most newspapers don't make up gossip unless it's a rag mag. So I've got to go with what I believe here. She did it!

Posted by: heather at March 11, 2010 10:32 AM


No, but when papers come out they can say: Woman being questioned about baby's death. Not Woman Starves Her Baby to Death. But the papers ABSOLUTELY lie and stretch the truth as much as they can. hey do it so that the paper makes more money- the more horrendous things sound, the more people buy paper. And the more people buy the paper, the more fuel gets on the fire- and fans the fire with the blogs, etc. There is NO SUCH THING as a fair trial any more- especially if it is a high profile accusation in a small town. I surely ope nothing like that ever happens to you, Jill. And as a Christian, you should be thinking about all things good- not waiting to prance on anything you can get your hands on to blog about. Jesus would abhor that. Please, if you would, spend your time reading EVERY SINGLE thing you can get our hands on about this case- I did from DAY 1 because I knew this girl and didn't believe it!! She is sweet, caring, loving, and great natured- most diefinitely not a monster. She didn't have a CHANCE in the Keysjudicial system- too many hate mongers who love dirty laundry and the lawyers are all inter-mingled socially with the judges and I can promise you, without lots of $$$ you have NO chance of a fair trial. When she gets past this second trial and gets cleared- this will absolutely make a great movie. About how the "justice" system works and how it can really, really go awry, especially in a small town.

Once you have done all your researh, then tell me "she did it"...because once you really look into this case- you'll see there is no way. WHY else do you think they had to introduce the idea that she may have even considered an abortion-???? If there was evough eveidence to support FACTS- they wouldn't have needed to grabbed for straws like that.

Posted by: Mom2 at March 11, 2010 10:53 AM