Local News

Pregnant Mom's Slaying Could Help Change Fetal Homicide Law

Posted June 29, 2007
Updated June 30, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Attention surrounding the murder of a Fuquay-Varina woman who was eight-months pregnant could help push through two bills currently stalled in legislative committees, a Wake County lawmaker said Friday.

“Generally, the only way we get things like this heard is public outcry,” Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said. “So, if the public gets incensed enough and lets the legislators know, that’s about the only way we’ll get this heard.”

North Carolina is one of 14 states that do not recognize the death of an unborn child in a homicide.

Although prosecutors cannot seek two murder charges in the June 14 slaying of Jenna Nielsen, the pregnancy could serve as an aggravating circumstance and allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

But for the family of Nielsen -- a 22-year-old pregnant with her third child when she was found dead behind a Raleigh convenience store -- that's not enough.

“We consider this, and the world considers this, as the murder of two human beings,” Nielsen's father, Kevin Blaine, said Friday during a news conference in which he announce a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of her killer.

“We want to do everything in our power to change this. There’s no reason why an unborn child should not be recognized in the case of a homicide.”

Senate Bill 295 and House Bill 263, if passed, would change the law .

“It’s just a particularly horrible crime to murder a woman who is so obviously expecting a child,” Hunt said.

Rep. Trudi Walend, R-Henderson, who is the lead sponsor of House Bill 263 said one of the reason the bills have stalled is because of the abortion issue.

"The Nielsen child was certainly old enough to be viable," Walend said. "That is a person, and North Carolina needs to recognize it as a person."

But the veteran lawmaker noted that politics will likely prevent changes any time soon. A bill she filed this year was assigned to a judiciary committee, but it never got a hearing.

Walend said she is still pushing to get the General Assembly to study the issue before the end of the session later this summer.

"Things change and people change, so we'll keep working on it," Walend said.

Nielsen's family has vowed to do all they can to change the law.

"That is our biggest goal right now, other than trying to catch the people or persons responsible for what happened,” Nielsen's husband, Tim, said Friday.

"It needs to be changed, and it needs to be changed as soon as possible."

48 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • atozca Jul 1, 2007

    Thanks dndunn, however, I didn't actually start the petition. I just keep posting the info so new commentors will see it first.

    587 names on the petition!
    http://www.petitiononline.com/061407/petition.html

    To read the bill itself, go to: ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2007/Bills/House/HTML/H263v0.html

  • Tarheeljunior Jul 1, 2007

    My signature made 507, keep up the awesome work folks!

  • Tarheeljunior Jul 1, 2007

    Atozca, thanks for putting the petition up. I am proud to say I signed it. This law legitimately needs to be updated. That baby's death is murder as well as if it was born. Ethan was close enough to delivery to be considered a human life no matter how people feel about abortion.

  • atozca Jul 1, 2007

    Pregnant Mom's Slaying Could Help Change Fetal Homicide Law.

    499 names on the petition. Thank you to all the signers.

    http://www.petitiononline.com/061407/petition.html

    To read the bill itself, go to: ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2007/Bills/House/HTML/H263v0.html

  • atozca Jul 1, 2007

    480 names on petition!

    Please sign: http://www.petitiononline.com/061407/petition.html

  • lolly Jul 1, 2007

    Pregnant Mom's Slaying Could Help Change Fetal Homicide Law.

    431 names on the petition. Thank you to all the signers.

    Make Ethen’s Law happen:
    http://www.petitiononline.com/061407/petition.html

    I signed Friday. All they want is a valid email address and a name. I have not been spammed.

    To read the bill itself, go to:
    ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2007/Bills/House/HTML/H263v0.html

  • lolly Jul 1, 2007

    http://www.petitiononline.com/061407/petition.html

    Make Ethen's Law happen!

  • Capital Punishment Stops Crime Jul 1, 2007

    Here is the proposed bill for the new law calling for the death of the unborn child to carry the same punishment as for the death of the mother, regardless of whether or no the murderer knew she was pregnant.

    http://ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2007/Bills/House/HTML/H263v0.html

  • OpenM1nd Jul 1, 2007

    >> "But the veteran lawmaker noted that politics will likely prevent changes any time soon."

    When are we going to start electing lawmakers with guts and backbones? How many more pregnant mothers have to suffer and die while they drag their feet with delays, discussions, and partisan politics? Good grief!

  • beachtat Jun 30, 2007

    I am no longer an NC resident, so can't sign - but wish I could. This homicide and the Michelle Young homicide are so sad. Something has to be done - not just in NC, but throughout the US - it's like it's open season on beautiful young women - some of whom are pregnant. So sad. Hope the lawmakers will open their eyes - it could happen to their loved ones.

More...