Elkton, MD, March 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Maryland State Prosecutor Ellis Rollins yesterday dismissed criminal murder charges against abortionist Steven Chase Brigham of New Jersey and his associate, Nicola I. Riley of Utah.
Rollins indicated in a press release that investigators could not be sure the unborn babies, who were aborted post-viability, were killed in Maryland, leaving the state’s jurisdiction in the case unclear.
Brigham’s practice was to start illegal late-term abortions at his office in New Jersey, then caravan the laboring women to Elkton, Maryland where the abortions would be completed.
“We know what the doctors did, we just don’t know where they did it,” said Rollins in his statement.
Brigham was charged with five counts of First-Degree Murder and Riley with one count of First-Degree Murder for their alleged roles in the abortions. Their illegal practice was exposed after a botched abortion at the clandestine Elkton abortion clinic alerted authorities to their bi-state late-term abortion ring.
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Brigham’s lawyer C. Thomas Brown celebrated the decision to drop the murder charges. “We’ve always contended Dr. Brigham hasn’t violated any Maryland laws,” Brown said.
Prosecutors pursued the murder charges based on a fetal homicide law which allows a person to be charged with murder if they kill an unborn baby in the course of committing another crime. This was reportedly the first time an abortionist has ever been charged under such a law, which are usually employed in cases where the unborn child is killed in the process of a violent assault on the mother.
Police investigators discovered the bodies of 35 late-term babies stored in a freezer inside the Elkton clinic. Brigham is not licensed to practice in Maryland, and Riley was apparently on her second day of late-term abortion training when she perforated the woman’s uterus and pulled out her bowel. The patient required emergency surgery to save her life.
Pro-life leader Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation called on Attorney Rollins to reinstate the murder charges “for the sake of justice and for the safety of the community.”
“The State simply cannot let these abortionists get away with the murder.”
Early news reports indicated that the babies were likely killed in New Jersey, prior to the women being transported to Maryland for the completion of the abortion. However, according to Operation Rescue, records obtained by the pro-life organization indicated that at least one of the babies was alive at the time of the abortion in Maryland, giving Maryland jurisdiction over the murder.
Rollins indicated that the investigation into Brigham and Riley’s abortion practices in Maryland will continue. Disciplinary actions in three states to revoke Brigham and/or Riley’s medical licenses continue to proceed.