Authorities: Abortion doctors charged with murder

ELKTON, Md. - December 30, 2011

Dr. Steven Brigham, of Voorhees, N.J., was arrested Wednesday night in New Jersey and was being held in the Camden County Jail on Thursday, police told The Cecil Whig newspaper. Authorities also arrested Dr. Nicola Irene Riley, of Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday night. Riley was being held in the Salt Lake City Jail. Both are awaiting an extradition hearing.

Investigators with the Elkton Police Department say they asked police in New Jersey and Utah to arrest the doctors after a Cecil County grand jury handed up indictments against Brigham and Riley earlier Wednesday, capping a 16-month-long investigation.

Police say they began their investigation on in August 2010 after a botched procedure at Brigham's Elkton clinic. Authorities say an 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant had her uterus ruptured and her bowel injured, and rather than call 911, Brigham and his colleague Dr. Nicola Riley drove the woman to a nearby hospital, where both were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name.

That incident resulted in the murder case against Riley and three of the 11 murder charges against Brigham, prosecutors said. The other charges against Brigham relate to four other illegal abortions he performed at the East High Street Clinic, prosecutors added.

A search of the Elkton clinic after the botched abortion revealed a freezer with 35 late-term fetuses inside, including one believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks.

Brigham started the late-term abortions in New Jersey, where he wasn't permitted to perform them, and finished them a day later in Maryland, where the law is more permissive, authorities said.

Police say Brigham faces five counts each of first- and second-degree murder. Riley is charged with one count each of first- and second-degree murder. Brigham and Riley each also face one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.


Information from: Cecil Whig of Elkton, Md.,

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