Trial started Monday for an Alabama man who may face the death penalty after police say he beat his former girlfriend to “near death,” killing her 37-week-old unborn baby daughter in the process.
Al.com reports that Christopher Ammons Kemp, 31, is accused of fracturing the skull and bones of his unborn baby during a gruesome beating he doled out on his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Jackson, in 2016, in her Hoover home. The infant also had lacerated organs and displaced ribs after Kemp allegedly beat Jackson so brutally that she was taken to the hospital with significant injuries.
On March 15, 2016, authorities responded to an incident off of Larkspur Drive when someone called the police about a woman with severe injuries walking along a roadway. After medical help arrived, they found Jessica at a nearby gas station and immediately started medical treatment. The Hoover Fire Department rescue unit then took her to UAB Hospital.
While at the hospital, Jessica lost her baby. She told authorities that her ex-boyfriend, Kemp, was the one responsible for her injuries. The following day, Birmingham police caught Kemp at his home off of 23rd Terrace N.W. in Center Point. He was arrested and charged with capital murder and first-degree domestic violence.
— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) March 16, 2016
Prior to his arrest, Kemp reportedly sent a Facebook message to friend, which read that he “didn’t want to hurt her, just the baby.” The message was read aloud during opening statements on Monday, by Deputy District Attorney Neal Zarzour.
Jessica and the suspect met in middle school, according to court documents. They broke up shortly before starting college, then met up again and rekindled their romance in 2014. Kemp and his daughter moved in with Jessica shortly after, in her home in the Bluff Park area of Hoover. The arguing began shortly after and according to Zarzour, Jennifer kicked Kemp out of the home numerous times, but there were never any previous reports of physical violence.
Each argument, however, seemed to intensify. Zarzour said on News Years Eve in 2016, Kemp fired a rifle outside, scaring Jessica. He later had her power turned off because she refused sex with him, which prompted Jessica to end the relationship for good.
After Jessica and her father moved Kemp’s belongings out and changed the locks on the doors at her home, she cut off all means of communication with her ex, aside from email. Kemp reportedly harassed Jessica almost daily through email, accusing her of being with her ex-husband while begging for another chance. When she wasn’t home, Kemp stopped by and mowed her lawn and left gifts. He sometimes drove by her house unannounced.
At this point, Jessica didn’t think Kemp would physically harm her, so she made plans to meet up with sometime in March to discuss their baby’s future. She planned to tell him she wanted the baby to keep her last name and that she didn’t want his signature on the birth certificate.
On one of his “drive by” outings to Jessica’s house on March 6, he noticed Jessica’s ex-husband loading gifts into a car after a baby shower.
Nine days later, the suspect allegedly snuck into Jessica’s garage and waited for her to return home. By that point, Jessica was afraid of Kemp and had been staying at her former mother-in-law’s home. However, on the day in question, she happened to stop by her home to pick up some items when she was confronted by Kemp in the garage.
As Kemp started attacking her, Jessica tried to fight back, according to Zarzour, but he overpowered her. Jessica told authorities the next thing she remembered was being at a gas station with her ex-husband, surrounded by officers.
Jessica was in a coma for a few days, and although doctors prepared her family to “expect the worst,” she pulled through.
“This case represents one of the most brutal, savage attacks that we have seen in quite some time,” said Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector. “This evil person stalked and viciously assaulted someone he once had a relationship with and knew that she was pregnant.”
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Christopher Kemp/Police Handout]