The Associated Press
The Herald Bulletin
Dozens of women and a handful of men chanted slogans and waved signs Saturday in downtown Indianapolis, demanding prosecutors drop charges against a woman accused of murdering her infant by eating rat poison while pregnant.
“Free Bei Bei Shuai,” chanted the crowd of about 100 people clustered on a tree-greened patio in front of the renovated City Market. Homemade signs voicing support for Shuai, the 36-year-old Chinese immigrant, were scattered throughout the crowd, including a couple in the hands of toddlers.
“She tried to commit suicide. She wasn’t trying to kill her child. In fact it was very sad,” Ali Selheim, a 19-year-old Butler University student from Columbus, Ind., said. “It just feels like a shame that she’s being treated this way.”
Shuai was eight months pregnant when she ate rat poison in December 2010 after her boyfriend broke up with her. Hospital doctors called authorities when the baby died three days after premature delivery.
Prosecutors charged the Shanghai native with murder and attempted feticide in March 2011. Her trial is scheduled for Sept. 3.
Saturday’s crowd included college students, reproductive rights activists and clergy who believe Shuai should receive mental health treatment, not prison time.