Death Penalty Sought in Pregnant Woman’s Murder

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Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue said Tuesday his office will seek the death penalty in the capital murder trial of James Saylor Herring.

Herring, 34, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of capital murder in the stabbing his pregnant wife, 32-year-old Celestia Marie Duffin on May 15.

Duffin was 27 weeks pregnant at the time of the incident. Doctors successfully delivered Duffin’s baby, Keagan Wayne Herring, but Sgt. Daniel Grubbs with the Fort Smith Police Department says the boy died from complications before he could be flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

In a letter to Judge James Cox, Shue said he will seek the death penalty because of the “seriousness of the offense; the defendant’s culpability; and the defendant’s criminal record.”

Herring told investigators he was “unhappy with where their marriage was at,” according to Sgt. Grubbs. The couple had only been married for about a week.

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