By Holly Gatling, Executive Director
South Carolina Citizens Concerned for Life
The Chester, S.C. Police Department on Wednesday upgraded charges against Aris Nichols to attempted murder and possession of a knife during a violent crime in connection with the attack last week against his pregnant girlfriend in which her unborn baby was killed.
Investigators are still waiting for medical records before deciding whether to charge Nichols under the Unborn Victims of Crime Act with the death of his unborn child, Sgt. Telly Crockett said late Wednesday afternoon.
The baby’s mother, Brittney Jordan, 21, remains hospitalized after being stabbed; Nichols remains in jail; and the baby Tavaris Joran was buried Tuesday in a pauper’s cemetery in a tiny coffin donated by King’s Funeral Home in Chester.
The local newspaper, the Rock Hill Herald, reported on the funeral service for Tavaris. Tavaris, the paper noted, was buried “in a cemetery that exists to bury the indigent. This time, a burial was held for a child that never had a chance to be born.”
In a piece sympathetic to relatives of Tavaris, columnist Andrew Dys wrote “Police and persecutors, awaiting autopsy results that could come as early as today, have not said what additional charges the father might face after those results come in.” Dys, however, did not mention that South Carolina has an Unborn Victims of Violence Act that declares an unborn child to be a separate victim if the child is killed or injured during a violent crime against the mother throughout the entire pregnancy. Both newspaper accounts about the tragedy either did not know the law existed or misunderstood its language.
In an e-mail Tuesday to Dys, South Carolina Citizens for Life provided a copy of the state’s Unborn Victims of Violence law. A copy of the law also was provided to two law professors quoted in the Herald’s initial article about the crime, and to Chester Police Chief Andre Williams.
The right-to-life organization also provided a copy of the law to the Associated Press and to two news outlets who published the AP article incorrectly stating that a perpetrator can be charged with crimes against a “viable fetus.” An AP spokesman contacted Citizens for Life and said AP would run a correction.
Chief Williams called the Citizens for Life office and said he is aware of the unborn victims’ law and is consultation with the solicitor about further charges against Nichols.
Holly Gatling is a former newspaper reporter with 20 years experience covering crime.
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