Georgia teen charged in deaths of stepmother and preborn child

Police in Macon, Georgia, arrested 19-year-old Passion Latrice Watkins on April 26 in connection to the shooting death of her 36-year-old stepmother Melanie Powers, who was more than eight months pregnant at the time of her death.

Watkins has been charged with malice murder, aggravated assault, cruelty to children, and feticide, according to WMGT. Georgia’s criminal code states that a person who “willfully and without legal justification causes the death of an unborn child by injury to the mother of such child, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, or if he or she, when in the commission of a felony, causes the death of an unborn child.” If convicted of feticide, Watkins would face life in prison. If convicted of the murder of her stepmother Powers, Watkins would also face life in prison or the death penalty.

According to police, Powers was pronounced dead at the scene and she was scheduled for a C-section the same week. Powers’ 11-year-old son was at home at the time of the killings and police say he allegedly woke up to Watkins (his stepsister) attacking him and his mother. He was able to flee the scene to get help and he is said to have non-life threatening injuries. Police later found Watkins sitting in a park and took her into custody for questioning. She was later charged with the crimes.

READ: Indiana teen gets 65 years in prison for murdering pregnant girlfriend, preborn child

“When deputies arrived on scene they found a female victim in bed suffering from a gunshot wound to the head,” the sheriff’s department said. Bibb County Sheriff David Davis told WMAZ that Powers and Watkins had been in an argument the night before the killing, and police are asking anyone with information to call the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers.

While in Georgia, killing a preborn child in any way other than legal abortion is considered feticide and punishable by law, other states including New York don’t give any such protections to preborn children.

In New York in 2019, Jerry Brown was arrested for allegedly murdering Savannah Rivera, but he faced no charges for the death of her preborn child. That same year in New York, Anthony Hobson allegedly killed his girlfriend Jennifer Irigoyen and her preborn child. While he faces a murder charge for killing Irigoyen, he will not face charges in her preborn baby’s death. New York’s extreme abortion law — The Reproductive Health Act — treats preborn victims of homicide as if they never existed.

Georgia’s feticide law is therefore significant as it allows justice for the most innocent victims of murder and their mothers.

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