GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Thirty-one year old Jared Ahlstrom was sentenced Monday to five years in jail for unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
In January he confessed to secretly giving his pregnant ex-girlfriend an ulcer medication with a side effect of miscarriages. She lost their baby in 2009.
Colorado law classifies an abortion without a mother’s consent as a class 4 felony and it carries no mandatory sentencing.
Judge Thomas Diester says sentencing in the case was difficult to decide, because while Ahlstrom confessed and showed remorse, he still needed to make an example of him and let the community know what Ahlstrom did won’t be tolerated.
“It just seems like a violation of not just her body but another life,” says Leslie Brodhead, a Grand Junction resident.
Mesa County residents contemplated whether Ahlstrom deserved a five year sentence.
“That doesn't seem long enough to me,” says Brodhead.
Ahlstrom tried not once, but twice to make the victim miscarry their baby. He traveled to Mexico to purchase Misoprostol, an ulcer medication with a side effect of miscarriages.
“The mother wanted this baby. And he took that away,” says Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.
Rubinstein says his office didn’t offer a plea deal to Ahlstrom.
“It's offensive to me and to my office that doing this is only a class four felony,” says Rubinstein.
He says this case screams for new legislation, but until that happens, he has to follow the law. Rubinstein says Ahlstrom did one thing right, “The only thing cutting in his favor was the remorse and how he handled the case after wards,” he says.
During the sentencing, a psychiatrist and Ahlstrom’s family pleaded with the judge to not send him to prison, saying it would do no good. But their pleas were not enough to keep Ahlstrom from being locked up. “Clearly everyone was in agreement that it needed to result in incarceration,” says Rubinstein.
The baby was delivered stillborn at 16 weeks and while the victim did not request a specific sentence, she did ask that he never contact her again.
The judge says it's possible Ahlstrom could only serve half his five year sentence for good behavior.