Under The Radar Violence
In The Conflict Over Abortion


As you read these cases, there are several things to keep in mind.

  • Because of some insurmountable research barriers associated with these cases, those shown here represent no more than a tiny fraction of the whole. In fact, they are not even all the examples we were able to uncover, but are merely a representative sample of them.
  • These cases only deal with instances in which the victim died and do not include the much larger group of women who survived being beaten, shot, stabbed or worse.
  • The details of the attacks committed against the women and girls in these particular cases are not unusual. To the contrary, they are typical of the cases we found. In fact, we often softened the descriptions of them in order to keep this report from becoming unnecessarily graphic and difficult to read.

At the beginning of each file, the victim’s name is given followed by her age, the year she was killed and the state in which her death took place. Also included is whether her refusal to have an abortion was either the Confirmed or the Self-Evident motive for her murder.

This latter designation was necessary in order to address the fact that media and law enforcement reports often state that the victim was killed because the perpetrator “was angry about the pregnancy” or “didn’t want the baby” or “claimed that the baby wasn’t his” or said that he “wasn’t ready to be a father,” etcetera. As explained earlier, our research shows that when a male displays these kinds of attitudes about his partner’s pregnancy, his first reaction will be to demand that she have an abortion. In almost every incident in which violence ensues, its motive will be that she refused to comply.

Taylor, Crystal Dejuanna

Age: 27, Date: 2001, State: CA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

According to authorities, Skyler Jefferson Moore ambushed Ms. Taylor in the carport of her home and shot her to death. Homicide detectives say that she was pregnant with the child of Derek Paul Smyder who had paid Moore to kill her because she refused to have an abortion. However, police did not have enough evidence to file charges until October of 2011 when they got a break in the case. Currently, Smyder is awaiting trial for capital murder in Ms. Taylor’s death and Moore is serving life without parole for an unrelated murder.

[KABC Ch. 7 News 11-9-2011 • DailyBreeze.com 11-9-2011]

Taylor, Kyunia

Age: 15, Date: 1996, State: MO

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Ms. Taylor was sitting on a school bus when Malik Nettles came on board and shot her to death. At the time, she was pregnant by her 29-year-old next-door neighbor, Mark Boyd. Law enforcement investigators later determined that Boyd had paid Nettles $4,000 to kill Ms. Taylor because he was already paying support for two other children. He was also concerned that he might be prosecuted for statutory rape. In 1998, Boyd was convicted of murder and given 26 years in prison. Nettles was convicted of capital murder and given life.

[C-J Online News 1-11-1998 • St. Louis Post-Dispatch 3-31-1998 • Missouri Court of Appeals # 73807]

Thomas, Quinnisha Renee

Age: 18, Date: 2003, State: CA

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Prosecutors were able to show that Ms. Thomas was shot to death by Deondre Terrell Hudson because she was pregnant with his child and he was concerned that a baby would derail his plans of becoming a rap star. In 2004, he was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

[The Sacramento Bee 11-9-2009 • ABC Channel 10 News 5-14-2004]

Tusa, Dawn Elizabeth

Age: 21, Date: 2004, State: PA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Tusa was found shot to death in her car and police charged her husband, Johnathan Robert Tusa, with her murder. A law enforcement investigation revealed that he killed her because she was pregnant and would not agree to have an abortion. In 2006, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12-15-2004 / 10-21-2006]

Walsh, Allison Marie

Age: 21, Date: 2011, State: PA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Authorities allege that Ms. Walsh was pregnant by Matthew Scott Becker when he shot her in the head killing her and her unborn daughter. Witnesses and family members state that Becker was angry with Ms. Walsh because he didn’t want the baby and she refused to have an abortion. Prosecutors have filed the paperwork necessary to seek the death penalty when the case comes up for trial.

[Intelligencer Journal 8-19-2011 • Pennsylvania State Police at Ephrata Complaint #J05-13329Z1]

Walters, Elizabeth

Age: 24, Date: 2007, State: MD

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Unknown to Ms. Walters, her boyfriend, David Lee Miller, was married when he impregnated her. Authorities say that he had ordered her to have an abortion in order to conceal what they called his “double life” and that, when he later discovered that she didn’t comply, he shot her to death. A witness stated that Miller told the victim, “I thought you got rid of it” and “You’re not going to ruin my life” just moments before the shooting. He also shot the witness but she survived to testify against Miller. In 2008, he was convicted and given life in prison.

[The Baltimore Sun 3-25-2008 • Washington Examiner 9-8-2008]

Washington, Cheri

Age: 17, Date: 2005, State: VA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Washington was pregnant by 27-year-old, Carlos Diangilo Williams, who demanded that she have an abortion. When she refused, he tied her up with duct tape, beat her with a baseball bat and stomped on her stomach with his boot. In 2005, Williams was convicted in the case and sentenced to 48 years in prison.

[Washington Post 1-30-2005 • Richmond Times-Dispatch 5-8-2006 / 12-21-2005]

Watkins, Barbara J.

Age: 15, Date: 1999, State: OH

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Watkins’ decomposing body was found in a wooded area one month after she was murdered. Investigators determined that her boyfriend, Sean Steele, had choked her, dropped a 50-pound rock on her stomach and stabbed her in the neck with a broken beer bottle. Witnesses told authorities that, in the weeks leading up to Ms. Watkins’ disappearance, Steele had threatened to kill her if she didn’t get an abortion and he later admitted that her refusal was the motive for the murder. In 2000, he was sentenced to 15-years-to- life in prison.

[The Columbus Dispatch 4-1 & 5-2000]

Watkins, Samira

Age: 25, Date: 2009, State: FL

Abortion Motive Confirmed

When Ms. Watkins told Zachary Antwann Littleton that she was pregnant with his baby, he demanded that she have an abortion in order to hide their affair from his wife. She refused and 11 days later her body washed ashore near the entrance of the Pensacola Naval Station with duct tape wrapped around her nose, mouth and eyes. A police analysis of Littleton’s computer records and phone calls showed that, after learning of the pregnancy, he sought information on abortion clinics. Later, he researched methods of causing miscarriages and, finally, he looked for material on how to speed up human decomposition. In 2011, Littleton was found guilty and given life in prison.

[Pensacola News Journal 1-16-2010 / 6-30-2011 • Citizen’s Times 6-28-2011 • ABC News Channel 3 Pensacola 6-27-2011]

Wells, Marlisa

Age: 16, Date: 2008, State: GA

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Police say that Matthew Frederick Wilkins followed Ms. Wells into a restroom, slammed her head into a toilet, stabbed her over 60 times and left a fork protruding from her back. Several witnesses stated that he was angry that she was pregnant with his baby and had decided to keep it. In 2010, he was convicted of her murder and given life in prison plus 20 years. An autopsy revealed that Ms. Wells was not pregnant.

[The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 3-10-2010 • The Marietta Daily Journal 3-19-2010]

Wheeler, Shantay Latrice

Age: 18, Date: 2001, State: VA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Five months after Ms. Wheeler disappeared, her body was found in a wooded area. She died from multiple gunshot wounds including two to the jaw, one to the head and one in the back. Prosecutors were able to prove that Irvin “Jack” Fountain, 28, who was married to another woman at the time, killed Ms. Wheeler because she refused to have an abortion. In 2006, a jury convicted him of capital murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

[The Daily Progress 9-5 & 6-2007 / 11-19-2007]

Wilson, Ashley Nicole

Age: 19, Date: 2004, State: TX

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Ms. Wilson was strangled with the cord from her high school graduation gown. Her boyfriend, Dan Randall Leach, eventually confessed to police that he killed her because she was pregnant with his child and he didn’t want to have anything to do with her or the baby. Leach eventually received 75 years in the Texas State Penitentiary.

[Houston Chronicle 8-11-2004 / 11-10-2004 • Associated Press 8-11-2004]