- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Prosecutors warned jurors that they will be forced to listen to graphic testimony and pictures as the first prosecution of Maryland’s fetal homicide law got under way.

David Lee Miller, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Walters, who was seven months pregnant, in June in a Parkville shopping center. Miller is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of the unborn child under a 2005 law that allows for prosecution of a “person who intended to cause the death of a viable fetus.”

“This will be a difficult case to listen to and watch, but we must prove our case,” state’s attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said Monday during opening statements in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

“This is a sad, sad, story,” said Alvin A. Alston, an assistant public defender who is serving as Miller’s attorney. In an opening statement lasting less than a minute, Alston urged jurors to carefully consider both sides.

Miller is accused of shooting Walters, a waitress, and her longtime friend, Heather Lowe, 24, as they sat in a car in the parking lot of the Parkway Crossing shopping center in Hillendale on June 11.

Shellenberger said prosecutors would call physicians to testify as to the viability of Walters’ unborn daughter. Under the 2005 law, a fetus is considered viable if doctors believe there is a “reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside of the womb.”

Prosecutors intend to use surveillance video, cell phone records and Lowe’s testimony to put Miller at the scene of the crime, as well as DNA and paternity tests to prove he was the unborn child’s father, Shellenberger said. They accuse Miller, who Shellenberger said was married to another woman, of killing Walters because he did not want her to have the child, even though Walters had decided to raise the baby herself.

Maryland is one of 35 states with a law recognizing unborn children as victims in murder cases, according to the National Right to Life Committee.

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