pregnant teacher in Maryland was found dead, and her boyfriend — who had publicly pleaded for her safe return — was charged with murder.
A pregnant woman was put in a bathtub and had gasoline poured on her before her boyfriend set her on fire, according to charging documents released Wednesday.
Prosecutors are investigating whether the man accused of burning his pregnant girlfriend should also face attempted murder charges connected to the premature birth of his child.
Investigators believe the baby was also a target in the attack that prompted the child’s mother to deliver the infant seven weeks early, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.
Alsobrooks said the baby remains in the hospital with her mother. She said the burning of the woman was “heinous.”
“He did not want the baby to be born,” Alsobrooks said Wednesday morning after a bond hearing for the man suspected in the burning. “He didn’t want the inconvenience of having this mother and this baby in his life.”
A judge on Wednesday ordered Laquinn Phillips, 34, of Southeast Washington, remain jailed without bond pending trial during his first court appearance. Phillips has been charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, arson and assault in connection with the burning, according to Prince George’s County police.
Phillips was arrested Friday after a pregnant woman suffering severe burns ran out of her apartment building in the 1400 block of Elkwood Lane in Capitol Heights about noon looking for help.
The woman told police that her ex-boyfriend burned her and that he indicated he would harm other members of her family, according to Prince George’s County police. Fire spread throughout the apartment after the burned woman ran from the building, charging documents state. Once outside, the woman called her mother.
“My boyfriend Quinn set me on fire,” witnesses overheard the woman telling her mother, police charging papers state.
At his court appearance Wednesday, friends and family expressed shock at the allegations leveled against Phillips.
“This is not my son,” said his mother, Pamela Phillips. “My son could not have done a heinous crime.”
Phillips’s attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, said his client was about to start working for a local fire department and has no previous record.
Doug Buchanan, a D.C. Fire and EMS Department spokesman, said Phillips was scheduled to join a recruit class later this month.
Gordon said Phillips is a hard worker, a “doting father” and someone who “empowers women” through his work as a personal trainer. Phillips has a 14-year-old daughter.
“This is inconsistent with the Laquinn Phillips that we know,” Gordon said.
“We keep seeing cases where people make awful, awful decisions generally based on some temporary emotion,” Alsobrooks said. “We have seen it play out, and it is just so devastating.”
The woman’s father has said in media interviews that there were tensions between his daughter and Phillips over the pending birth of the child.
Alsobrooks said that it would be “unusual” to file charges of attempted murder of the infant but not unfounded if “the facts tell us that the reason this murder happened was because he wanted to take the life of this baby.” The mother was less than two months away from the due date for delivering her child, and it was a viable baby, Alsobrooks said.
“The law does allow it because the baby is a living person,” Alsobrooks said.