Thursday, May 03, 2007

Two men are charged after a pregnant woman was punched in the stomach

Jim Adams:

Paul A. Petersen, 18, of Hopkins, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assaultDameon D. Gatson, 22, of Hopkins, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault

Carolyn Washburn answered the knock at her apartment door late one morning and saw a teenager, whom she didn't know, in a royal blue sweatshirt with the hood up. He asked for her pregnant girlfriend, Shyloe.

"He wouldn't come into the apartment, so she stepped out to see what he wanted and he punched her" in the stomach, said Washburn, 17.

Shyloe, 19, collapsed, crying in pain on the floor of the St. Louis Park apartment.

"He hit me. Call 911," she told Washburn.

The next day, the young woman delivered her daughter, Destiny, weighing less than 2 pounds.

Nine days later, after being told her brain-damaged daughter would have cerebral palsy, be mentally disabled, and never be able to use her arms or legs, Shyloe decided to take Destiny off life support, St. Louis Park police said. The baby died a few hours later Tuesday.

The two girlfriends couldn't believe it when police told them Shyloe's boyfriend, her child's father, offered a friend $200 to cause a miscarriage.

On Wednesday the boyfriend, Dameon D. Gatson, 22, and his friend, Paul A. Petersen, 18, of Hopkins, were each charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

"It is a cold, brutal, really heartless crime," said St. Louis Park Chief John Luse. He said the young mother, whom he wouldn't name, was physically OK, but grief-stricken and still trying to comprehend what happened. Washburn would only give the mother's first name.

Luse said he had never heard of so young a homicide victim. "That's why it's so heartbreaking," he said.

Two charged in death of newborn


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