Woman jailed on murder charge following abortion sues Starr County, DA's office

2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago Friday, March 29 2024 Mar 29, 2024 March 29, 2024 3:03 PM March 29, 2024 in News - Local
Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez. KRGV file photo.

A woman who was indicted on a murder charge following a "self-induced abortion" in 2022 filed a federal lawsuit against Starr County and its district attorney, court records show.

Lizelle Gonzalez was arrested and charged with murder on April 8, 2022, and jailed for three days. She was released from custody when the murder charge was dismissed. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Starr County district attorney to dismiss indictment against woman charged with murder for 'self-induced abortion'

Gonzalez filed the lawsuit Thursday against the county and Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez and Starr County Assistant District Attorney Alexandria Lynn Barrera.

According to the lawsuit, Gonzalez was admitted to Starr County Memorial Hospital with abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding on Jan. 8, 2022 after using “Cytotec Icetrogen” to induce an abortion. Gonzalez then underwent a cesarean procedure to deliver a stillborn child.

Sometime after that, the hospital violated federal privacy laws by reporting the self-induced abortion to the Starr County District Attorney’s Office, the lawsuit alleges.

Gonzalez was later charged with murder and jailed on a $500,000 bond. 

“Neither the Starr County Sheriff’s Office nor the Rio Grande City Police Department performed an investigation into the facts or circumstances surrounding the charge of murder against the plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit. “Rather, the Starr County District Attorney’s Office, by and through its assistant district attorney, defendant Alexandria Lynn Barrera, initiated and performed its own investigation based on reports from hospital personnel.”

The lawsuit also states Ramirez and Barrera presented the case before a grand jury “with false and misleading information” to secure the murder indictment against Herrera.

“Had defendants Ramirez and Barrera been truthful, there would not have been any legal basis for the indictment and ensuing arrest,” the lawsuit states.

The arrest gained national attention, and the “frivolous” persecution led to “heightened” media attention on Gonzalez, according to the lawsuit.

Gonzalez is seeking $1 million in damages in connection with the lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes a month after Ramirez told Channel 5 News he was fined by the State Bar of Texas and had his law license placed in a “probated suspension” following a hearing into the original murder charge.

READ MORE: Starr County DA fined over 2022 indictment against woman charged with murder for 'self-induced abortion'

The investigation found that Ramirez committed “professional misconduct” by allowing the indictment to go forward despite the charge “known not to be supported by probable cause.”

A hearing date for the lawsuit was not set as of Friday afternoon. 

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