A Jamaica man was convicted last Thursday in the brutal stabbing murder of his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child. He faces 25 years to life when he is sentenced on Nov. 22.
Derrick Redd, 38, of 166th Street, plunged a knife into the stomach and torso of his girlfriend Niasha Delain, 20 to 30 times including inflicting five stab wounds to the fetus, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Delain, 25, was nine-months pregnant and scheduled to give birth the day she was murdered, Oct. 25, 2008, at her South Ozone Park home on Lefferts Boulevard, the DA said. The baby did not survive.
“It is incomprehensible that this defendant would unleash such a vicious attack on his girlfriend and his unborn child on the date the baby was expected to come into the world – which also happened to be the birthday of the victim’s father,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement, adding, “He must be sentenced to the maximum time in prison in order to punish him and to protect society.”
Redd has been convicted of intentional second-degree murder, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree abortion following a jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis.
“According to trial testimony, Derrick Redd was not sure if the baby was his and did not want the baby,” Helen Petersen, a spokeswoman for the Queens DA, said Friday.
Murder is the most common cause of injury-related death for pregnant women, second only to car accidents, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Between 1990 and 2004 more than 1,300 pregnant women were murdered. Most, about 56 percent, were shot to death while the rest were stabbed or strangled. Some 77 percent of these victims were killed during their first trimester.
However, the number of pregnancy homicides could be higher than data reveals, according to the NCADV, because death certificates and medical examiners’ records do not always state whether the women were with child, allowing these types of murders to go undetected.
Women under the age of 20 and those who receive late or no prenatal care are most vulnerable to intimate partner homicide, according to the group, and those with unintended pregnancies are two to four times more likely to experience physical violence than women with planned pregnancies.
“A lot of men don’t want to be responsible for being a father, so they think this is the only way out,” said Shawn Williams, a crime victims advocate from LeFrak City and the mother of three daughters. “Sometimes you would hear about men punching or kicking women to abort the fetus, but now I guess they’ve gotten to the point where they want to get rid of both, because if the mother survives, she can press charges.”
According to the New York State Penal Code committing an abortional act upon a female is only justifiable when she gives her consent and it is performed by a licensed physician acting under reasonable belief that it is necessary to preserve her life, or, within 24 weeks from the commencement of her pregnancy. Abortion in the second degree is a class E felony.