A miss­ing

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY LYNH BUI Clarence Wil­liams con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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.

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