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State may drop Bei Bei Shuai murder charge after adverse ruling

January 28, 2013

A judge’s ruling last week barring a medical examiner’s testimony that rat poison ingested by Bei Bei Shuai caused the death of her newborn daughter should cause the state to consider dropping all charges, Shuai’s defense attorney said.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said the ruling could lead to the dismissal of a murder charge against Shuai, but not an attempted feticide charge.

“We’re examining three options for moving forward. These options are requesting an interlocutory appeal of this ruling, engaging a second pathologist to review and assess the cause of death, and dismissing the murder charge and proceeding with prosecution of the attempted feticide charge,” Curry said in a statement. “We have not yet made a decision as to which option we will pursue.”

Shuai was charged with murder and attempted feticide in January 2011 after her newborn daughter, Angel, died days after her delivery by emergency caesarian section at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Shuai had told friends that she consumed rat poison days earlier in an attempted suicide after the baby’s father jilted her when her pregnancy was almost at full term. Her friends persuaded her to seek medical attention.    

Marion Superior Judge Sheila Carlisle ruled last week that findings of a medical examiner who testified that rat poison caused the newborn’s death were “not reliable” and could not be used.

“It has been our position from the get-go this is an unconstitutional and illegal prosecution in the first place,” Linda Pence of Pence Hensel LLC said of Shuai’s prosecution. “The only reason she was in jail for 14 months is because they charged her with murder and they knew it was a weak case to begin with.

“Now, to dismiss that (murder charge) but to keep on prosecuting a weak case is immoral and unjust,” Pence said. She said an interlocutory appeal would go before the same Court of Appeals that freed Shuai from jail and pointed to deficiencies in the medical examiner’s testimony.

Pence said Carlisle’s ruling acknowledged testimony that she argued was “not based on scientific principles, biased and quite frankly not probative.”

Pence also has argued investigators shouldn’t have had access to Shuai’s and Angel’s medical records. Carlisle has yet to rule on that motion. Shuai’s trial is set for April 22.

Read more about the Shuai case here. 


 

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