Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols is facing an additional count of first-degree murder for the death of an unborn baby, according to Oklahoma press reports.
Nichols is serving a life prison term on federal convictions for his role in the April 19, 1995, bombing and already faces 160 first-degree murder charges by the state.
A preliminary hearing set for Monday will determine whether there is probable cause for Nichols to stand trial on the state charges.
The presiding judge, Allen McCall, is expected to rule on the additional charge at the hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Lou Keel said prosecutors plan to upgrade a first-degree manslaughter charge against Nichols in the death of the unborn child of bombing victim Robin Ann Huff at the preliminary hearing.
Huff, 37, of Bethany, Okla., was one of three pregnant women who died in the bombing. Her baby had been in gestation for 32 weeks and was due in June.
“The most appropriate and viable charge is first-degree murder,” said Keel, who cited an Oklahoma appeals court ruling that the killing of an unborn child can be a homicide if the fetus was “viable,” or could live outside the mother’s womb.
According to Oklahoma abortion laws, an unborn child is presumed viable after the 24th week.
If accepted, the murder charge for the Huff baby will likely rile abortion-rights groups like the National Organization for Women, which initially opposed the recent double-homicide charges against California murder suspect Scott Peterson.
Peterson faces the death penalty if convicted of the murders of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son.
WorldNetDaily has reported abortion proponents fear the characterization of the death of an unborn baby as murder.
“If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder,” Morris County NOW President Mavra Stark told the Daily Record of Parsippany, N.J.
“There’s something about this that bothers me a little bit,” Stark said. “Was it born, or was it unborn? If it was unborn, then I can’t see charging [Peterson] with a double-murder.”
“[The boy] was wanted and expected,” Stark added, “and [Laci] had a name for him, but if he wasn’t born, he wasn’t born. It sets a kind of precedent.”
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