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New Hampshire charges 1st person in state with murder in the death of a fetus

OSSIPEE, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire man appeared in court Monday on charges that he killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child by means of multiple blunt force injuries, the first time the state has charged someone with murder in the death of a fetus.

William Kelly, 28, appeared in Carroll County Superior Court in Ossipee with his lawyer, Caroline Smith. He did not address the judge. Smith said she planned to file paperwork that Kelly was waiving his arraignment and pleading not guilty. An email seeking comment was left for Smith.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Mitchell Weinberg determined that Christine Falzone, 33, was about 35 to 37 weeks pregnant at the time of her death in December.

The Legislature passed a bill in 2017 that defines a fetus at 20 weeks of development and beyond as a person for purposes of criminal prosecution of murder. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed the bill into law. It took effect in 2018.

Kelly’s case is the first time the state had charged someone with murder in the death of a fetus, said Michael Garrity, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office.

Kelly was indicted by a Carroll County grand jury on Friday on two counts of second-degree murder. He recklessly caused the deaths of Falzone and her fetus, according to the indictment.

Lawyers said they were waiting on forensic test results. They agreed to schedule a hearing in June and a potential trial date in 2025.

Kelly, who was being held without bail, has several criminal convictions. The most recent was for assault in 2019, police said.

Kelly initially was arrested in December on a single second-degree murder charge connected to Falzone's death.

Police said they found Falzone unconscious and not breathing at the Ossipee home she shared with Kelly. It was not immediately known if Kelly was the father of the unborn child.