On June 20, Baltimore County Police responded to a home in the Rosedale area of Baltimore County after a 911 call from a resident who found her daughter severely injured. The victim, later identified as Summer Shemida Smith, was declared dead on the scene. Smith was 33 years old and lived at the home with her mother. Media reports indicated that her pregnancy was full-term. Her unborn child also died. After an autopsy the next day, police announced that Smith’s death was the result of homicide. At the time, police did not announce autopsy results for her unborn child.
Today, September 2, a report from The Baltimore Sun reports an arrest has been made:
Baltimore County police have charged a 32-year-old man with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his pregnant girlfriend in June.
Kenneth Walter Worrell III of the 5800 block of Lillyan Avenue is alleged to have stabbed Summer Shemida Smith, 33, who was nine months pregnant. The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office is reviewing the case to see if additional homicide charges could be filed in the death of the unborn child.
The report indicates DNA via blood on a receipt dated 6/20 was found in Worrell’s car. Will prosecutors actually file charges for the death of the unborn child? Logic would indicate that they should in light of Maryland’s fetal homicide laws since previous reports indicated the pregnancy was full-term.
Maryland has a fetal homicide law (§ 2-103) which says that a defendant can be prosecuted for manslaughter or murder if (via NCSL.org) the perpetrator “intended to cause the death of the viable fetus; intended to cause serious physical injury to the viable fetus; or wantonly or recklessly disregarded the likelihood that the person’s actions would cause the death of or serious physical injury to the viable fetus.”
Under Maryland law (§ 2-209), viable “means that stage when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the womb.”