It has been well over two years since the December night that Chinese immigrant Bei Bei Shuai ingested rat poison in an attempt to kill herself after the father of her child left her sobbing in a parking lot. It has been well over two years since the January day a week later that her daughter Angel was born via c-section in an Indiana hospital, eight weeks premature, and died a few days later. And it’s been over nine months since Shuai was released on bail, after spending more than a year in prison on a charge of murder for her own daughter, all because she happened to be pregnant at the time of her failed suicide attempt and the child died after she gave birth.
Yet despite how many months and years have passed, Shuai is still no closer to being able to defend herself in court. Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry is now asking to delay the trial, contending that the prosecution needs more time to go through evidence, as well as look for experts that can testify on their behalf. The biggest loss, a key piece of testimony against Shuai was thrown out when a judge ruled that there was no evidence that the chemicals in the rat poison could cross the placental barrier to affect the child, and that the autopsy report never examined other potential causes of death, such as the drugs used to try and prevent the labor.
Curry has remained insistent on charging Shuai with some sort of crime, regardless of the lack of evidence or the more than 80 friend-of-the-court briefings sent on behalf of Shuai by groups concerned that her case could cause pregnant women who want to harm themselves to be afraid to seek help. Curry has mentioned he may consider swapping the murder charge for that of “feticide” since the lesser crime won’t require proving that the poison was the cause of Angel’s death.
But feticide was always the charge favored by the state, even offering Shuai a deal back in July if she would plead guilty to the lesser charge. Shuai rejected the deal, saying she wanted to clear her name.
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Shuai was scheduled to go to trial April 22nd. Shuai’s lawyers are once again petitioning the court to drop the case all together.