By Gudrun Schultz

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, October 18, 2006 ( – A man was convicted yesterday of two counts of first degree murder in the death of his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn baby, after she refused to have an abortion, the Associated Press reported.

Stephen Poaches, 27, was found guilty in a nonjury trial of the strangling death of 24-year-old LaToyia Figueroa and her five-month unborn child.

Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega said Poaches wanted Figueroa to have an abortion, but she refused.

“He did not want this child to be born,” Vega said. In his closing argument for the prosecution, Vega said Poaches had planned the killing over a period of time.

In a statement to police, Poaches said he attacked Figueroa just hours after accompanying her to a medical checkup.

The mother of a seven-year-old girl, Figueroa disappeared in July 2005, in a case that received national attention after a blogger accused the national media of ignoring her disappearance because she was black and Hispanic. Her body was found a month after her death when a police detective followed Poaches to the vacant lot where he had left her body.

In a similar case in 2004, the husband of a pregnant woman shot and killed her in her car as she was leaving their home in Penn Township, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday. Johnathan Tusa has been charged with homicide in the deaths of Dawn Giza Tusa, 21, and her seven-week unborn child.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Studeny said testimony against Mr. Tusa will include allegations that he tried to force his wife to have an abortion, in her opening statement to the jury Saturday before the Butler County Court.

Dawn Tusa left her house early that morning after discovering her husband using cocaine in their bathroom. Telling him he had five minutes to decide if he wanted her and their baby or the drugs, she went out to her car. Mr. Tusa followed and fired three shots at the car as she tried to back it out of the driveway—the third shot struck her in the head.

The car ended up on a hillside, where Ms. Tusa was found by a motorist around 8:20, still breathing. She died from blood loss shortly afterward. Mr. Tusa, it was found, had apparently used a chain to try and pull the vehicle off the hillside, with his wife still alive in the car.

Violence surrounding abortion disputes between family members has been increasingly common, as recent coverage has revealed. A Maine couple was charged last month with kidnapping after they attempted to force their nineteen-year-old daughter to have an abortion, transporting her bound and gagged in the backseat of their car to an abortion facility in New York when she managed to escape. In Florida last August a young female police officer shot and killed her partner and then herself—the police report indicated she was distraught over an abortion she had undergone a few weeks earlier.

See related LifeSiteNews coverage

Parents Kidnap Daughter, Attempt Forced Abortion, Police Charge

Abortion Distress Suspected in Police Officer’s Murder-Suicide