Attempted self-aborter asks that all charges be dropped

By Dave Andrusko

Anna Yocca with her attorney, Gerald Melton

Anna Yocca with her attorney, Gerald Melton

Murfreesboro, Tenn — 32-year-old Anna Yocca appeared in court yesterday where her attorney, Gerald Melton, said all charges should be dropped against the woman who tried to self-abort her 24-week-old unborn baby using a coathanger last September.

Yocca filled a bathtub with a few inches of water, then used a coat hanger to repeatedly stab her baby. “That’s when officials said the amount of blood alarmed her, and her boyfriend took her to the emergency room at St. Thomas Rutherford hospital,” according to Sam Stockard of the Murfreesboro Post. “From there, she was transported to St. Thomas Mid-Town in Nashville where staff members saved ‘Baby Yocca.’”

Yesterday News Channel 5’s Jesse Knutson reported that at the time Yocca was arrested, “Police said the coathanger caused significant damage to the child’s eyes, lungs, and heart.”  The baby weighed 1.5 lbs at birth.

As we reported in March, the prosecutor opted not to object when Melton requested the first degree murder charges to be dropped in lieu of a charge of aggravated assault. Yesterday Melton wanted all charges dropped.

Melton argued the law under which Yocca was charged does not apply to repeatedly stabbing an unborn baby with a coathanger–just to parents who “use drugs, putting their children in danger”– adding that Yocca had never been in legal trouble prior to the attempted self-abortion.

Attempting an “all’s-well that end-well” argument, Melton said, “That child [named Leo] has been the subject of adoption and is happily living out of state with his adoptive parents.”

“Judge, it’s not just right,” Melton said. “This indictment should be dismissed” and Yocca released from jail.

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Hugh Ammerman, Rutherford County assistant district attorney, countered, “It’s just the state prosecuting a criminal act in accordance with the law that existed at the time that it was committed.”

According to News Channel 5’s Knutson, the judge did not make a decision and told attorneys to file responses in the coming weeks.

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