RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas - A murder charge against a 26-year-old Texas woman will be dropped, says 229th Judicial District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez, who serves Starr, Jim Hogg and Duval counties.
In a release, Ramirez says he reached out to Lizelle Herrera's counsel to say that his office would be filing a motion to dismiss the indictment against her on Monday, April 11.
According to Ramirez, a review of applicable Texas law showed that Herrera "cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her." However, Ramirez says that the Starr County Sheriff's Department "did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital".
Herrera was charged with murder after authorities said she caused "the death of an individual by self-induced abortion," in a state that has the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. It is still unclear whether Herrera is accused of having an abortion or whether she helped someone else get an abortion.
Herrera was arrested Thursday and remained jailed Saturday on a $500,000 bond in the Starr County jail in Rio Grande City, on the U.S.-Mexico border, sheriff's Maj. Carlos Delgado said in a statement. Delgado did not say under what law Herrera has been charged. He said Saturday no other information will be released until at least Monday because the case remains under investigation.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM DA RAMIREZ BELOW:
"Yesterday afternoon, I reached out to counsel for Ms. Lizelle Herrera to advise him that my office will be filing a motion dismissing the indictment against Ms. Herrera Monday, April 11, 2022. In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her.
In reviewing this case, it is clear that the Starr County Sheriff’s Department did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital. To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of their duty. Prosecutorial discretion rests with the District Attorney’s office, and in the State of Texas a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice. Following that oath, the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms. Herrera.
Although with this dismissal Ms. Herrera will not face prosecution for this incident, it is clear to me that the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll on Ms. Herrera and her family. To ignore this fact would be shortsighted. The issues surrounding this matter are clearly contentious, however based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter.
Going forward, my office will continue to communicate with counsel for Ms. Herrera in order to bring this matter to a close. It is my hope that with the dismissal of this case it is made clear that Ms. Herrera did not commit a criminal act under the laws of the State of Texas."
Woman faces Texas murder charge after self-induced abortion
Texas Supreme Court hears arguments on SB 8, abortion providers speak out
Pro-choice, pro-life organizations react to DOJ lawsuit over SB 8
Why "heartbeat bill" is a misleading name for Texas’ near-total abortion ban