By Dave Andrusko
It took a jury in Rapid City, South Dakota only four hours to find Alfredo Vargas guilty of attempted fetal homicide. When the 36-year-old Vargas is sentence in November, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Vargas laced his then-girlfriend Lisa Komes’ drinks with a herbal extract (pulegone) that in large quantities can cause an abortion, between February and May 2010.
It was the second trial for Vargas. In August, 2012, after Circuit Judge Mary Thorstenson rejected his expert witnesses, Assistant Deputy State’s Attorney Scott Roetzel dismissed a similar charge against Vargas. Roetzel then re-filed the charge in October.
Komes was the first witness. She told the jury she discovered she was pregnant in February 2010. She testified that at one point Vargas said “we should get an abortion.”
“Komes became suspicious of her drinks and had police test one, and they discovered the herb,” the Associated Press reported. “She gave birth to a healthy baby boy in October 2010.”
While the scientific evidence was helpful in the case, Roetzel said he thought the statements Vargas made to family and friends about not wanting a baby were the deciding factor.
“Prosecutors said recorded phone conversations between Vargas and his wife show that he had knowledge of the herb and didn’t want his ex-girlfriend to have the baby, so he intended to hurt the fetus by poisoning her,” the AP reported.