By Kathleen Gilbert

ARLINGTON, Tennessee, September 29, 2009 ( – A Tennessee man is facing a double murder charge after his girlfriend and her unborn child were shot to death, in what police say was the conclusion to the couple's disagreement over getting an abortion.

Shelby County detectives say they believe Tarence Nelson, 26, shot schoolteacher Tonya Johnson, 35, as a result of an argument over whether Johnson should abort the child, who was at eight months' gestation.  Johnson was found in her home by neighbors who said she had bullet wounds to the right abdomen, chest, and the back of her head. 

Those who discovered Johnson say they and paramedics attempted without success to save the mother and baby's life.

Neighbor John Ingram told a local news station that Nelson's intent to kill the child was obvious by her wounds.  “It looked like he was intent on killing both of them,” he told WMC-TV.  “I think it should be a double homicide, the baby was ready to come.”

Detectives have agreed that Nelson will be charged with first-degree murder of both Johnson and her unborn child.

In 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which recognizes a child in the womb as a legal victim if he or she is killed or injured in an act of violence against the mother.

See related articles:

Pregnant Women Murdered by Partners After Refusing Abortions

Texas Man Found Guilty of Murder for Illegally Aborting His Twin Children

Bush Signs Unborn Victims of Violence Act