LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP from ProLifeInfo.org) - A jury convicted an Arkansas man Thursday of capital
murder for hiring others to beat his pregnant girlfriend and kill her
Erik Bullock, 30, received an automatic sentence of life in prison because
prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. He also was convicted of
first-degree battery, which carries a 20-year sentence.
The case was the first brought under Arkansas' Fetal Protection Act. The
1999 law allows murder charges if an unborn child in at least the 12th
week of gestation dies as the result of a violent crime.
Derrick Witherspoon, 18, and Lonnie Beulah, 17, who are accused of beating
Shiwona Pace, are awaiting trial on capital murder charges. Their brother,
Eric Beulah, 22, is serving a 40-year prison sentence.
In closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors that Bullock was a
controlling man who feared Pace's pregnancy would disrupt his relationship
with another woman. They said Bullock paid the men $400 -- total -- to
"This defendant was a selfish person who was afraid one railroad track was
going to cross into another. He hired those guys to ... beat up that
little girl's mother so that she would not mess up his life," said
prosecutor John Johnson.
The nearly full-term unborn child was stillborn Aug. 26, 1999, after Pace
was taken to an emergency room with a lacerated spleen, fractured wrist,
broken finger and numerous bruises and cuts.
DNA tests later showed that Bullock was not the father of the infant.