ELKTON, Md. - Two abortion doctors are now facing murder charges stemming from an August 2010 incident and late-term fetuses being found at an Elkton clinic.
Dr. Steven Chase Brigham has been charged with five counts of first degree murder, five counts of second degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Brigham was arrested Wednesday night in Camden County, N.J. where he is awaiting his extradition hearing. His arrest was requested by the Elkton Police Department. According to the Maryland Board of Physicians, Brigham has never been licensed to practice medicine in Maryland. He was issued a cease and desist order by the state's Medical Board in late August 2010.
Brighams' co-worker Dr. Nicola Irene Riley, was also arrested Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she is awaiting an extradition hearing. Court documents indicate Riley was hired by Brigham and flew from her home in Utah to perform abortions beginning in July of 2010. Riley is facing one count of first degree murder, second degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The doctors are accused of performing illegal late-term abortions in Elkton. During a 2010 investigation police say they found fetuses stashed in freezers in the doctors clinic.
The investigation began when a young woman went to the two doctors to get an abortion in August in New Jersey. Court documents show the patient began the procedure on August 12th and the following day was instructed by Dr. Brigham to drive her own car to the facility in Elkton. During that procedure something went wrong and her uterus was perforated. The doctors drove the woman to Union Hospital but did not stick around. The victims injuries were so severe she was later transported by helicopter to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Surgery was done to repair the failed abortion.
Elkton Police filed a complaint with the state's Medical Board August 16, 2010. A second complaint from a Hopkins physician was filed two days later. In mid-August Elkton Police searched the office Brigham and Riley were using and discovered a freezer , which according to court documents, "contained approximately 35 late term fetuses and fetal parts". Officers also found patient logs which documents state, "list other late term abortions involving fetal ages 28, 20, 33 and 35 weeks".
Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum represents Dr. Riley in her on-going case involving the Maryland Board of Physicians. The Baltimore-based firm she works for is representing Dr. Riley in this criminal case. Krevor-Weisbaum says, "The charges are without legal merit." Riley's attorneys believe it's inappropriate for the physician to be held without bond in Utah, saying she's not a flight risk. Riley was due in court in mid-February for an Administrative Hearing to fight the suspension of her medical license, which was taken away in late August 2010. Krevor-Weisbaum says she's asked for a postponement.
Joseph Gorrell has been representing Dr. Brigham in his on-going medical proceedings. He says he is not representing Brigham in his criminal case.