Emily Cassulo

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Lawyers Seek Dismissal in Stillborn-Death Case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi woman who gave birth to a stillborn child at age 16 is challenging a “depraved heart murder” charge that was filed against her by prosecutors who said her cocaine use killed the baby.

Lawyers for Rennie Gibbs are scheduled to be in Lowndes Circuit Court on Monday to argue a motion to dismiss the charge.

Gibbs’ child was stillborn in 2006.

Prosecutors blamed Gibbs’ cocaine use, and charged her with depraved-heart murder. It’s a legal term under Mississippi law for an action that demonstrates a “callous disregard for human life,” resulting in death. It carries a life sentence.

Gibbs’ attorneys say no state law makes it a crime for a woman to smoke, drink or take drugs while pregnant, even if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage or stillbirth.