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Ohio man pleads guilty to attempt to force girlfriend’s abortion at gunpoint

Associated Press / April 29, 2011

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A man charged under an Ohio fetal homicide law for taking his pregnant girlfriend to an abortion clinic at gunpoint pleaded guilty yesterday to attempted murder, weapons, and abduction charges.

Dominic Holt-Reid, 28, pulled a gun Oct. 6 on girlfriend Yolanda Burgess and forced her to drive to the clinic, police said. Burgess, who was three months pregnant at the time, did not have the procedure but instead passed a note to a clinic employee, who called police. She has since delivered a healthy baby.

Prosecutors brought their case against Holt-Reid using a 1996 law that says a person can be found guilty of murder for causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said he was satisfied with the plea agreement, under which several charges were dropped. Weapons specifications attached to the attempted murder and abduction charges, which could automatically have meant more prison time, were also eliminated.

Holt-Reid faces up to 20 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Sheeran ordered a presentencing investigation.

Holt-Reid’s lawyer, Larry Shoemaker, was pleased weapons specifications were dropped. “I’m trying to salvage the gentleman’s future here, so that’s the basis for the plea more so than a heartfelt belief that he is guilty of attempted murder,’’ he said.

Shoemaker said he plans to argue in June that Holt-Reid’s actions did not risk Burgess’s unborn child and so are distinguished from murder cases O’Brien has argued under the statute in the past.

He will be pushing for a sentence of closer to three years rather than the 20-year maximum, he said.

“The judge will have to decide. If he sees it our way, it’s not quite as serious, as we’re believing it is, or it’s very serious as Mr. O’Brien stated,’’ he said.

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