Judge Is Asked to Keep Murder Trial Free of Sympathy

Woman's suicide try doomed her fetus

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 8, 2013 3:50 PM CST

(Newser) – An unusual murder case in Indiana has prompted an unusual request from prosecutors: They want the judge to bar spectators in the courtroom from wearing buttons that express support or sympathy for accused killer Bei Bei Shuai, reports AP. They also want the defense to refrain from asking questions of witnesses that might elicit sympathy for Shuai, who is charged with killing her child by eating rat poison while 8 months' pregnant. It was a suicide attempt. Friends got Shuai to the hospital in time to save her, but not baby Angel, who was born days later. The trial starts April 22.

The 2010 case has drawn international headlines. Shuai's supporters say that she was suffering depression when she attempted suicide and that convicting her of murder and feticide will theoretically open up such charges to any mother accused of providing improper care for her fetus. (A Change.org petition calling for Shuai's freedom has about 11,000 signatures.) Prosecutors say the case is straightforward: Shuai's suicide note made clear she was trying to kill her fetus along with herself, and that warrants the murder charges.

This undated file photo provided by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows Bei Bei Shuai.   (AP Photo/Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, File)
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