Pregnant Inmate Seeks Release From Jail Arguing Her Unborn Baby is Innocent and Needs Proper Care

Natalia Harrell, 24, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman in Miami.

A pregnant Florida woman who has been in jail since July in the fatal shooting of another woman now argues she should be released pending trial because her unborn child is innocent and is being denied proper care. Natalia Harrell, 24, is charged with second-degree murder and is accused of fatally shooting another woman in an Uber after a night of partying in Miami. Harrell, who is now eight months pregnant, and her lawyer argue in a court filing that her fetus is being illegally detained and that Harrell is not receiving proper prenatal care. Here's what you need to know about this case.

How Did This Happen?

NY Post

Harrell, who was about six weeks pregnant, was partying with a group of men on July 23, 2022, at a nightclub in Miami's South Beach. They were joined by a second woman, Gladys Borcela, 28. Harrell and Borcela reportedly did not get along, and Harrell asked one of the friends to "get her girl under control." The six people called an Uber to leave the club at about 2 a.m.

The Circumstances of the Alleged Crime

NY Post

Harrell and Borcela began arguing in the Uber's back seat, according to video of the incident released last week. In the video, Borcela appears to reach for Harrell, who shoots her in the stomach. The Uber pulls over, and everyone except Borcela leaves the car. Borcela was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead.

The Murder Charge

Miami Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation

Harrell is charged with second-degree murder and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for April. Harrell, who was denied bail, remains jailed at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami.

 What Harrell Says About Her Pregnancy

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Harrell's lawyer, William M. Norris, filed a writ of habeas corpus last week in Florida's Third District Court of Appeal, arguing that Harrell's fetus is improperly incarcerated because it has not been charged with a crime. The petition also argues that Harrell's "unborn child" should be released until it is born so it can receive prenatal proper care. "An unborn child has rights independent of its mother, even though it's still in the womb," Norris told The Washington Post. "The unborn child has been deprived of due process of law in this incarceration. You simply have to have the unborn child as a factor in the equation." Among other things, the writ argues that jail staff have refused to provide medical care to Harrell and her fetus.

The State's Response

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody's office filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the writ. The office argues that the habeas corpus petition is not the correct document in this case and that Harrell has not offered evidence of improper medical care. The Miami-Dade County corrections and rehabilitation department, meanwhile, is reviewing its prenatal care services, a spokesman said in a statement to The Washington Post. "We are committed to ensuring all inmates receive professional, timely medical care and all appropriate treatment," the spokesman said.

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