WV Man Who Killed Pregnant Girlfriend Charged with Two Murders

Excerpts from “West Virginia Man Indicted for Killing Pregnant Girlfriend, Unborn Child”
By Steven Ertelt, – August 30, 2007

A West Virginia man is the second person to be indicted under a law that provides protection and justice for pregnant women and their unborn children. The state’s unborn victims law, one of three dozen across the nation, allows prosecutors to hold criminals accountable for killing or injuring both mother and child.

James Louis DeGasperin, a 35 year-old teacher from Preston, is charged with killing his 25 year-old girlfriend Lori Casteel and her unborn child.

In addition to his indictment on first degree murder in the deaths of Casteel and Collin, DeGasperin was indicted for first degree murder in the death of the baby as well because Casteel was six months pregnant at the time.

That can happen because the West Virginia legislature, in 2005, approved Senate Bill 146 and it became law that May when Gov. Joe Manchin signed it.

Under the statute, “a pregnant woman and the embryo or fetus she is carrying in the womb constitute separate and distinct victims” for purposes of the state laws governing murder, manslaughter, and certain other crimes of violence.

According to National Right to Life, some 35 states have laws protecting pregnant women and their unborn children. Some 25 provide justice throughout pregnancy while the other 10 only protect women in the latter parts of it.

< end of excerpts from article >

Read the entire news article here: