Local News

Fatal shooting near Raleigh mall results in charge of harming unborn child

Posted January 27, 2016 11:43 a.m. EST

Daniel Joseph Steele

— A Raleigh man has been indicted on a charge of attempted murder of an unborn child in connection with a fatal shooting last spring near the Triangle Town Center mall.

Kimberly Dianne Richardson, 25, was shot twice in the back on April 18 in the parking lot of Party City, at 3604 Sumner Blvd. and died the next day. She was six months pregnant at the time, and doctors were able to save her baby daughter.

Richardson told first responders that her boyfriend Daniel Joseph Steele, who is the baby's father, had shot her. Police later found a handgun and ammunition at his home.

Steele, 25, of Snowcrest Lane, was previously indicted on a first-degree murder charge in Richardson's death, but the attempted murder of an unborn child charge is a rare application of a 4-year-old state law.

State lawmakers passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in April 2011, and it went into effect the following December. The legislation is also known as Ethen's Law after the unborn son of Jenna Nielsen, who was eight months pregnant was she was stabbed to death in Raleigh in June 2007.

Nielsen's case has never been solved, but her father lobbied extensively for the North Carolina law, noting that the culprit could be held responsible only for his daughter's death and not his grandson's. At least 36 other states have similar laws.

The law has been applied at least once before, resulting in a second life sentence for a Charlotte man convicted of killing a pregnant restaurant manager during a 2012 robbery.