Autopsy will determine whether more charges are filed in Chester stabbing

adys@heraldonline.comApril 30, 2012 

— Police and prosecutors in Chester are awaiting autopsy results on a fetus that will determine whether additional charges are filed against the Chester man already charged with attacking his pregnant girlfriend late last week, officials said Monday.

Brittney Jordan, 21, was several months pregnant when she was stabbed in the neck, police say.

Aris Nichols, 39, is being held without bond in the Chester County jail on a single count of criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. Chester Police Chief Andre Williams said more charges are expected in the death of the unborn child.

Lakisha Jordan, Brittney Jordan’s mother, wants to see the man who attacked her daughter punished.

“I pray to God (he) never gets out of jail,” Lakisha Jordan said late Monday. “My daughter is lying in a hospital bed and can’t move her side.”

Autopsy results on the fetus, available possibly as early as today, will determine a cause of death, authorities said.

“When we have a cause of death, at that time, we will determine what actions will be taken,” Sixth Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield said late Monday.

Barfield declined comment on what those actions might be.

Williams said officers had been able to speak to Brittney Jordan after the incident Thursday, but not since.

“Clearly, additional charges are forthcoming,” Williams said, “but we are waiting on documentation and results of testing.”

Nichols has previous convictions dating back to 1990 for assault and battery, drug possession and other crimes and spent years in prison on several occasions, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.

Nichols has two other small children with Jordan, according to the arrest warrant in the case. He was inside the rented mobile home Thursday afternoon on Pinckney Street at the time police arrived, reports show, and was arrested on the criminal domestic violence charge.

The neighbor who called police Thursday about the stabbing, LaPorcha Crosby, said Monday she is Nichols’ cousin.

“This is a sad situation,” Crosby said.

The police report states that officers found Brittney Jordan lying on a bed bleeding from her face and head and Nichols standing in the room.

How far along Jordan was in her pregnancy and other medical factors will be crucial to determining what charges are brought, said Kenneth W. Gaines, a criminal law expert and professor at the University of South Carolina law school.

Prosecutors could argue the fetus was “viable to be born and survive” after less than a complete term and could bring charges of manslaughter to murder, Gaines said.

Defense lawyers could argue against that science, he said, making the case complex and wrought with emotional, religious, cultural and scientific turmoil.

“Either way, science is going to enter into this case, as well as the emotions of so many people as it relates to the unborn,” Gaines said. “The first question that has to be answered is whether this is believed by authorities to be a homicide, and what the appropriate charges are for that cause of death.”

Another criminal law expert, Miller Shealy of the Charleston School of Law, said case law in South Carolina shows that prosecutors can charge in a case such as this up to and including murder, depending on the circumstances of the pregnancy.

Nichols’ lawyer, Sixth Circuit Chief Public Defender Mike Lifsey, declined to discuss details of the case but said his office will conduct its own investigation.

The unborn child, a boy, was named Tavaris Jordan, according to an obituary in Monday’s Herald. A graveside service is planned for today.

Andrew Dys 803-329-4065

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