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.

Mackey, Rochelle M.

Age: 27, Date: 2005, State: CA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Witnesses state that when Conroy James Hayes learned that Ms. Mackey was pregnant with his child, he warned her that she “better have” an abortion because he did not want a baby. She was upset by Hayes’ demand and told him to leave her apartment. Two days later, he shot her to death. In 2006, he was convicted of her murder and given a 64-year prison sentence.

[NewsBank Info Web 8-25-2005 • Bakersville.com news 3-27-2009 • California Court of Appeals Fifth Appellate District Superior Court No. BF110986A]

Marshall, Brandi Nicole

Age: 20, Date: 2000, State: LA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Javier Perry was charged with murder and feticide in the deaths of Ms. Marshall and the couple’s unborn child. According to authorities, Ms. Marshall was killed because she refused Perry’s demand to have an abortion. Perry admitted to police that he put the gun to her head while they argued about the abortion but that he only meant to scare her. He claimed the gun went off accidentally. Because there were no witnesses, police were not able to prove that Perry actually intended to kill Ms. Marshall and he was acquitted.

[The Times-Picayune 2-23-2002]

Mitts, Deana

Age: 24, Date: 1999, State: PA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

On New Years Day, Joseph P. Minerd used a pipe bomb to kill Ms. Mitts. Minerd told police that he killed her because she refused to have an abortion. Also killed in the attack were the couple’s unborn child and Ms. Mitt’s three-year-old daughter. During Minerd’s trial, evidence showed that he had beaten the victim twice trying to force her to have an abortion. In 2002, he was convicted of her murder and given life without parole.

[Associated Press 11-6-2004 • Pittsburgh Tribune Review 11-7-2007 • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 5-1-2002 • Daily Courier 5-2-2002 • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Case No: 02-3305]

Moody, Denna

Age: 39, Date: 1997, State: CA

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Moody’s body was found in her burned out car but, because it was so badly charred, it was not possible to officially determine the cause of death. Prosecutors say that she was slain by the father of her unborn child, Alfred Elliot Smith, because she had refused his demand to have an abortion. In 1998, Smith was convicted of second-degree murder and given 15-years-to-life in prison.

[The Los Angeles Daily News 8-25- 1997 / 5-21-1998 • Los Angeles Times 5-21-1998]

Moore, Shorlonda Lynette

Age: 23, Date: 1999, State: TN

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

After being strangled, Ms. Moore’s body was found in a burned out car. Prosecutors claimed that Eric Laquinne Brown killed her because she was pregnant with his child and “causing him problems, demanding child support.” He eventually pleaded guilty and received a life sentence.

[The Associated Press 11-30-1999]

Moreno, Martha

Age: 29, Date: 2002, State: CA

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Ms. Moreno was stabbed three times in the stomach and strangled by her boyfriend Gilberto Cano. Citing testimony given by a forensic pathologist, prosecutors stated that the stab wounds were clearly intended to kill the unborn child. In 2005, the state agreed to a second-degree murder plea with Cano for a reduced sentence of 17-years-to-life.

[The Modesto Bee 5-8-2003]

Munoz, Brittany

Age: 16, Date: 2009, State: TX

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Ms. Munoz was pregnant with the baby of Garrett Cole Gower when he suffocated her. An investigation revealed that Gower was angry about the pregnancy and that he and Ms. Munoz had been arguing about it for two weeks. According to the prosecutor in the case, Gower was worried that his mother would kick him out of the house if she found out that Ms. Munoz was pregnant. In 2010, he was convicted of capital murder and given life without parole.

[Dallas Morning News 8-23 & 25-2010 • CBS News 8-26-2010]

Newman, Rosemary

Age: 18, Date: 2011, State: IL

Abortion Motive Self-Evident

Ms. Newman was beaten and strangled with a phone cord and her body dumped in a forest preserve. The father of her unborn baby, Deandre Minkens, and an accomplice, Shante Thomas, have been charged with kidnapping and murder. Investigators said Minkens’ motive in killing Ms. Newman was that he didn’t want to be a father.

[CBS/WBBM 4-29-2011 • NWI Times 5-25-2011 • Chicago Tribune 4-29-2011]

Ormston, Angel C.

Age: 17, Date: 1992, State: OH

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Ormston was stabbed to death and her decomposed body was found in an isolated area five months later. The father of her unborn child, Mark J. Sotka, confessed to the crime, telling police that he became angry with Ms. Ormston because she refused to have an abortion. In 1993, Sotka pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and kidnapping and will have to serve at least 30 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

[Cleveland Plain Dealer 2-6 & 14-1993]

Peck, Jennifer Montroy

Age: 25, Date: 1995, State: FL

Abortion Motive Confirmed

Ms. Peck was bludgeoned to death with a claw hammer by her husband of six months. Prosecutors in the case said that Joseph L. Peck killed his wife because she was pregnant and would not agree to have an abortion. Almost eight years later, a jury found him guilty of murder and gave him life in prison without parole.

[Sarasota Herald-Tribune 9-2-2003 • St. Petersburg Times 6-26-2002 / 9-10-2003]