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Lawyers want to bar baby’s autopsy photos

– Lawyers for a Chinese immigrant whose premature baby died after she tried to kill herself by eating rat poison are asking an Indianapolis judge to bar autopsy photographs from her murder trial, saying the pictures are overly gory and likely to prejudice jurors.

Bei Bei Shuai’s attorneys said in documents filed Friday in Marion County Court that a medical examiner from Delaware who reviewed the photographs called them “appallingly unprofessional.”

“Photos of dead infants are by nature inflammatory and prejudicial,” defense attorneys wrote in one of several motions filed.

Shuai was hospitalized after she attempted suicide by eating rat poison Dec. 23, 2010, when she was eight months pregnant. Doctors delivered her daughter, Angel Shuai, on Dec. 31, and the infant died three days later.

Prosecutors arrested Bei Bei Shuai on charges of murder and feticide in March 2011, saying a note she left to her former boyfriend proved that Shuai intended to kill her baby when she ate the rat poison.

But Judge Sheila Carlisle ruled in January that the doctor who determined the poison caused the baby’s death hadn’t considered other possible causes, including a drug administered to Shuai while she was in the hospital. That effectively deprived prosecutors of the cause of death on which their case rested.

Shuai’s lawyers said in their motion to bar the autopsy photographs that the pictures didn’t prove anything because they didn’t show any evidence of effects from the poison.

Shuai’s lawyers also renewed their call to dismiss the murder charges, saying that she had only intended to commit suicide, which is not illegal in Indiana. They also said that the fetal murder law under which Shuai was charged was intended to protect pregnant women from attack, not to protect fetuses from their mothers.

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