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.

Adams, Cherica

Age: 24, Date: 1999, State: NC

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Adams was pregnant with the child of former National Football League player, Rae Carruth, when she was shot to death by Van Brett Watkins and Michael Kennedy. At trial, it was revealed that Carruth had paid them $6,000 to kill Ms. Adams because she had refused his demand to have an abortion. Watkins and Kennedy eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. In 2001, Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 18-to-24 years in prison.

[Salt Lake Tribune 4-26-2006 • Associated Press 2-16-2011]

Ambrosino, Susan

Age: 26, Date: 2005, State: NY

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Steven Schiovone was the father of Ms. Ambrosino’s unborn child and was demanding that she have an abortion. Because she refused, he killed her by shooting her in the back of the head. In 2007, Schiovone admitted to the crime and was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter rather than face a murder charge.

[The New York Daily News 2-28-2005 • Newsday 4-17-2007]

Anderson, Linda

Age: 25, Date: 2010, State: NY

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Authorities say that Jimmy Humphrey strangled Ms. Anderson because she was pregnant with his child and he did not want to start a family with her. After she was killed, her apartment was burned and police speculate that Humphrey set the fire in an attempt to cover-up the crime. Ms. Anderson’s two-year-old son died in that fire.

[NY1.com 8-2-2001 • The New York Times 7-16-2010]

Baker, Tammy Lynn

Age: 24, Date: 1997, State: VA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Witnesses stated that when Ms. Baker told her boyfriend, Coleman Leake Johnson, that she was pregnant by him, the two had a heated argument over her refusal to have an abortion. When Johnson realized that Ms. Baker was not going to change her mind, he hid two homemade pipe bombs under a garbage can lid outside her apartment. When she lifted the lid, the bombs exploded and killed both her and her unborn daughter. In 2001, a jury found Johnson guilty of her murder and gave him life in prison.

[The Washington Post 12-19- 2004 • Richmond Times Dispatch 5-15 & 17-2001]

Bakley, Bonny Lee

Age: 44, Date: 2001, State: CA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Bakley was pregnant by actor, Robert Blake, when she was shot to death while sitting in his car. In court, witnesses testified that Blake had planned to abduct Ms. Bakley and hire a doctor to abort the baby and, if that didn’t work out, he said that he intended to “whack” her. Blake also admitted that he had offered Bakley $250,000 to have an abortion but she refused. In 2005, a jury found that there was not enough evidence to convict Blake of the criminal charges but, in a subsequent civil trial, the jury found him responsible for Ms. Bakley’s murder and ordered him to pay $30 million in damages.

[Court TV 10-3-2005 / 12-14-2005 • The Herald Sun 1-21-2005]

Betts, Cassandra

Age: 25, Date: 2000, State: OH

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Betts was six weeks pregnant when her boyfriend, Tony M. Ringer, lured her to the parking lot of a local business under the pretense that he was having car trouble. When she arrived, he stabbed and shot her to death. The victim’s seven-year-old daughter was in the car at the time and was still with her mother when they were discovered the next morning. In 2002, Ringer received 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The county prosecutor said that he killed Ms. Betts because she refused his demand to have an abortion.

[WLWT-TV Channel 5, Cincinnati 12-22-2000 • The Cincinnati Enquirer 3-10-2002]

Bonaventure, Sandra

Age: 21, Date: 2001, State: NY

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Bonaventure was strangled by Emmanuel Pierre. Law enforcement officials say that Pierre killed the college junior because she was pregnant with his child and had refused to have an abortion. One witness quoted Pierre as telling Ms. Bonaventure that, “You’ll have that baby over my dead body.” Another stated that Pierre was complaining to him “every other day” about her refusal to have an abortion. In 2005, Pierre was convicted of her murder and given 25-years-to-life in prison.

[The New York Daily News 4-17-2004 / 4- 8-2005; The New York Post 4-5-2005]

Bost, Tinesha Amdricko

Age: 17, Date: 2000, State: NC

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Bost was murdered by her 29-year-old boyfriend, Charles Francis Graham. According to court documents, Ms. Bost was pregnant with Graham’s baby and he had ordered her to get an abortion because he said he already had too many kids. When she refused, Graham enlisted the help of two other men to lure Ms. Bost to a local pond where she was shot in the back of the head. In 2002 he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole.

[North Carolina Court of Appeals No. COA 03-788 • Charlotte Observer 2-25-2000 / 12-10-2001]

Boyd, Anastasia Latrice

Age: 24, Date: 2010, State: FL

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Law enforcement officials say that Larry J. Reed shot Ms. Boyd in the chest during an argument over her pregnancy. Family members told investigators that Ms. Boyd was determined to have her baby despite Reed’s fierce objections. Police say that Reed initially told them that Ms. Boyd had committed suicide but he later admitted that he shot her. In 2010, he was indicted for second-degree murder.

[St. Petersburg Times 3-25-2010 • Channel 8 News St Petersburg 3-24-2010]

Browne, Zaneta

Age: 29, Date: 2002, State: NY

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Browne was pregnant with the twins of Jerold L. Ponder when he shot her in the head. Ponder’s wife, Keya, was also charged in the killing because she bought the gun used in the attack and later helped to dispose of the body. Investigators were able to determine that Ms. Browne was murdered because she refused Ponder’s demand to have an abortion. Eventually, both Jerold and Keya Ponder were found guilty of murder and given prison sentences of more than 25 years.

[Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 2-1-2003 / 5-3-2003 • WHEC-TV News 10 7-22-2002]

Burnett, Stephanie Nicole

Age: 16, Date: 2002, State: GA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

According to law enforcement officials, Matthew John Wiedman killed Ms. Burnett because she was pregnant with his baby and would not agree to have an abortion. During a meeting with Wiedman, he and an accomplice, Raymond Anthony Soto, attacked Ms. Burnett with a steel dumbbell and repeatedly stabbed her with a long-bladed knife. An autopsy revealed that every bone in her face was broken, her skull was crushed and her throat was slashed. In 2003, Wiedman and Soto were convicted of her murder and given life in prison.

[The Augusta Chronicle 4-23 & 24-2002 / 4-23-2003]