In court papers, Roger Holland's lawyers say he should be charged only with carrying out an unlawful abortion, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday. Minnesota has two laws, one outlawing abortions without the mother's consent and a fetal homicide law, that appear to cover the same actions although the second carries a more severe punishment.
"The exact conduct he is being accused of is chargeable under a separate, less severe statute," lawyer Marsh Halberg wrote, asking a court do dismiss the second murder charge.
Holland of Apple Valley allegedly killed his wife, Margorie, in March when she was 15 weeks pregnant.
Dakota County prosecutors said in their response that saying the fetus was not a homicide victim is "patently offensive."
Any ruling is unlikely to have any practical effect. A jury would almost certainly not convict Holland of fetal homicide if they acquit him of killing his wife, and he faces life with no parole if he is found guilty of the first murder charge.
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