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.

Carter, Ardena Marie

Age: 23, Date: 2003, State: GA

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Michael Antonio Natson killed Ms. Carter by shooting her in the head. Investigators determined that Ms. Carter was pregnant with Natson’s child and had stated that she intended to give birth to the baby. They say he killed her to avoid paying child support. In 2007, a jury found him guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

[WSFA-12 News 3-5-2007 • FBI Press Release 6-22-2005]

Chambers, Tara

Age: 29, Date: 2002, State: NC

Abortion Motive Confirmed

According to police affidavits, Ms. Chambers was pregnant with the baby of Tyrone Raynard Gladden who ordered her to have an abortion so he would not have to pay child support. When she refused, he hired a hit man to kill her. A short time later, her body was found with four gunshot wounds. In 2007, Gladden was convicted of Ms. Chambers’ murder and given life in prison without parole.

[The Charlotte Observer 5-19- 2004 / 7-3-2007; The Washington Post 12-19-2004; Court Of Appeals of North Carolina No. COA09-626]

Christensen, Irene Francis

Age: 20, Date: 1994, State: UT

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Calvin Shane Myers stabbed Ms. Christensen at least 12 times with a rusty hunting knife almost decapitating her. Two weeks later, her frozen body was discovered in a snow bank. Myers told police investigators that Ms. Christensen was pregnant with his baby but that he was “not ready to have children.” In 1996, he confessed to the crime and was given life in prison.

[Salt Lake Tribune 9-10-2000 • The Supreme Court of the State Of Utah Case No. 20010955]

Colon, Christina Joyce

Age: 24, Date: 2004, State: PA

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Damien Michael Schlager shot Ms. Colon to death then dumped her body in a rock quarry where it was discovered eight days later. Police investigators say that Schlager, who was married with two children, killed Ms. Colon in order to keep their relationship a secret and to avoid paying child support. In 2006, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

[The York Dispatch 7-30-2004 • The Lancaster New Era 9-22 & 28-2004 • Lancaster Intelligencer Journal 10-3-2008]

Croudy, Helen

Age: 16, Date: 2002, State: NJ

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

On New Year’s Day, Ms. Croudy was bludgeoned to death with a ball-peen hammer. Then in 2003, Cordell Harper admitted in court that he killed her because she was pregnant with his child and he didn’t want the inconvenience of a baby. The judge in the case sentenced him to 50 years in prison.

[Philadelphia Inquirer 1-3-2002 • The Press of Atlantic City 8-18-2003]

Davis, Jessie Marie

Age: 26, Date: 2007, State: OH

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Former police officer, Bobby Lee Cutts, killed Ms. Davis and dumped her body in a public park. Prosecutors say that Cutts, who was married to another woman at the time, killed Ms. Davis in order to avoid paying child support. A third woman, Stephanie Hawthorne, testified that she was also pregnant by Cutts and that she had an abortion on the same day Ms. Davis went missing. In 2008, Cutts was convicted for Ms. Davis’ murder and given life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole for at least 57 years.

[CBS News 2-25-2008 • ABC News 6-24-2007 • Associated Press 2-5-2008]

DeLain, Niasha

Age: 25, Date: 2008, State: NY

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. DeLain was a bank teller and accounting student when she was stabbed more than 20 times killing her and her unborn baby. Authorities charged Derrick W. Redd with murder after finding evidence that he killed Ms. DeLain because she was pregnant with his child and would not agree to have an abortion. Investigators say Redd told them that he had argued with Ms. DeLain about her refusal to have the abortion and that when he can’t avoid a problem he “eliminates it.” Redd was convicted of murder and, in January of 2012, he was given 25-years-to-life in prison.

[New York Daily News 12-9-2009 / 11-3-2011]

Demery, Valicia Andrea

Age: 19, Date: 2009, State: MD

Abortion Motive Confirmed

When Bernard Bellamy Jr. learned that Ms. Demery was pregnant with his child, he ordered her to have an abortion. Because she refused, he intentionally ran over her with his car and left her to die on the campus of the Forestville Military Academy. The night before the murder, Bellamy had sent a text message to Ms. Demery telling her that she should come to her senses about the abortion before it’s too late. When she asked, “B4 what’s too late,” he replied, “U will C.” In 2009, Bellamy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received 30 years in prison.

[Washington Post 5-12-2009 • Statement of Charges, Prince George’s County Maryland, Case 0E00318584]

DePaul, Lisa Ann

Age: 26, Date: 1991, State: PA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

In 1992, Dominic Fierro received 13½-to-27 years in prison for the murder of Ms. DePaul. Law enforcement officials were able to establish that Fierro strangled her because she refused to have an abortion. He then tried to stage her apartment to make it appear that a burglary had occurred. Ms. DePaul’s father found her body on Christmas morning. An autopsy indicated that she might have miscarried prior to the murder.

[Pennsylvania’s Intelligencer 9-15-1992 • Philadelphia Inquirer 9-15-1992]

Derosia-Waters, Melody

Age: 19, Date: 1991, State: NH

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Derosia-Waters was killed after suffering three gunshot wounds to the face and back. Prosecutors said that Shane Pitts killed her because she was pregnant with his baby and refused to have an abortion. Pitts was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder and given 40-years-to-life in prison.

[New Hampshire Union Leader 12-5-1991 • Supreme Court of New Hampshire syllabus 12-28-1993]

Dethrow, Roselyn

Age: 35, Date: 2002, State: NC

Abortion Motive Confirmed

According to law enforcement officials, when Ricky Kenard Royster learned that Ms. Dethrow was pregnant with his child, he insisted that she have an abortion in order to conceal the pregnancy from their church. When she refused, he tried to force her to miscarry by giving her poison and kicking her in the stomach. That failed and he then smothered her with a pillow and staged the scene to make it appear that she had been killed during an attempted rape. In 2005, Royster was convicted of murder and given life without parole.

[The Winston-Salem Journal 4-7-2005 • North Carolina Court of Appeals No. 02-CRS-61547]