Police: Michigan woman gives birth after being set on fire, shot

Police: Michigan woman gives birth after being set on fire, shot

POSTED: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 8:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 8:34pm

Two men were arraigned Tuesday in connection with an attack on a Michigan woman who gave birth days after being abducted, set on fire and shot in the back, police said.

One of the suspects, the woman's former boyfriend, is the father of the boy born Tuesday morning, said Louis Galasso, police deputy commissioner in Warren, a Detroit suburb.

The man allegedly did not want to become a parent.

"There is not a scintilla of any mitigating events in this case," Galasso said. "It is nothing more than a disturbing, diabolic scheme put together by two individuals."

The Detroit mother and baby were hospitalized Tuesday afternoon in an undisclosed location. The boy was in the intensive care unit and the woman, 22, was in stable condition, said Galasso.

"The burns were significant and resulted in a lot of blistering. They are all over her arms, chest and back," the commissioner said.

Police have charged Latonya Bowman's former boyfriend, Jamal Rashard Rogers, and his roommate, Antonio Valentine Mathis. Both are 22.

According to police, Rogers sent text messages to the woman during the abduction in order to establish an alibi. A videotape taken at an area Home Depot allegedly shows Mathis buying gloves, tape and rope hours before Saturday morning's incident.

The men entered not guilty pleas to multiple charges, including assault with intent to murder, unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy to commit homicide. Mathis also faces a weapons charge, police said.

Bond was denied and the men requested court-appointed attorneys.

The conspiracy began in March, according to Galasso. "There is no indication there was any monetary exchange or remediation."

Rogers, who is expecting a child with another woman, told Bowman he wanted to reconcile, Galasso said. She drove her SUV to his Warren residence and they went to a movie.

Afterward, the suspect instructed Bowman to pull into the garage, where a gunman taped her eyes and mouth shut and bound her hands, police said. The abductor, who police believe was Mathis, drove toward Detroit with the woman.

"As they are driving he makes a reference to her pregnancy and says, 'You know why I am doing this' and asks how far along she was in her pregnancy," Galasso said.

After the driver stopped the vehicle, the woman was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

"She was able to roll out of the vehicle and tries to extinguish herself on the ground and hears two gunshots. One hits her in the upper back and she plays dead," Galasso said.

Bowman told police she did not know her accused abductor.

Rogers, according to police, said he originally conspired to end the pregnancy, but changed his mind at the last moment and told Mathis to abandon the plan. "We don't believe that statement to be credible," Galasso said.

Police said they believe Rogers, who allegedly has two other children, drove Mathis to the Home Depot to buy the items.

Mathis has denied responsibility.

Bowman was able to drive to a service station and call her mother.

Mohamed Zokari, an employee at the Shell station, told CNN affiliate WDIV that employees gave the woman a T-shirt when she walked in.

"Everything was bad, she was burned up," Zokari said. "She was in a bad situation."

The victim went into labor early Tuesday and had an emergency C-section, three weeks before her due date.

"She has demonstrated her courage, and I suspect she will fully recover," Galasso said.

-- CNN's Jake Carpenter contributed to this report.

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