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UPDATE: Wis. Woman Sentenced to Life for Fetal Abduction

UPDATED Thursday, December 13, 2012 --- 3:46 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman convicted of trying to steal a baby by killing a pregnant woman and slicing out her full-term fetus has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.

A jury convicted 34-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez in September on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one each for the mother and baby.

The convictions carried mandatory life sentences, but Judge David Borowski could have allowed the possibility of parole. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Morales-Rodriguez told police she killed the 23-year-old woman and tried to steal the baby because she was desperate to give her boyfriend a son. She told investigators she was "sorry for the girl" and never meant for the baby to die.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, December 13, 2012 -- 7:55 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman convicted of trying to steal a baby by killing a pregnant woman and slicing out her full-term fetus is due to be sentenced.

A jury convicted 34-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one each for the mother and baby.

She faces a mandatory life sentence at a hearing Thursday afternoon. However, the judge may allow for the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Mark Williams declined to say what sentence he will request. But he says the crime was horrible and hopes Morales-Rodriguez is punished proportionately.

Messages left with her defense attorneys were not immediately returned.

Morales-Rodriguez told police she killed the 23-year-old mother because she was desperate to give her boyfriend a son.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, September 20, 2012 --- 2:12 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman has been convicted of killing a pregnant mother last year and trying to steal her full-term baby.

A jury found Annette Morales-Rodriguez guilty Thursday of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. She faces a mandatory life sentence, although a judge could allow for the possibility of parole. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez had miscarriages and was desperate to give her boyfriend a son. They say she faked being pregnant, panicked as her supposed due date approached, and decided to attack an expectant mother and try to pass off the child as her own.

Morales-Rodriguez's defense attorneys conceded she strangled 23-year-old victim Maritza Ramirez-Cruz last October. But they argued that the deaths of the mother and her fetus weren't intentional.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, September 20, 2012 --- 10:37 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant woman last year and trying to steal her unborn baby has chosen not to testify in her own defense.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of the woman and her baby.

The state rested its case Thursday morning. After Judge David Borowski confirmed with Morales-Rodriguez that it was her choice not to testify, the defense rested its case without calling any witnesses.

Borowski also decided to let the jury also consider lesser charges of first-degree reckless homicide.

A conviction of first-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence, although with a possibility of parole. The maximum prison sentence for a conviction of first-degree reckless homicide is 60 years.

Morales-Rodriguez's public defender contends the homicides weren't intentional.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, September 20, 2012 --- 9:21 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Closing arguments could come soon in the trial of the Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant woman last year and trying to steal her unborn baby.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of the woman and her baby. Her trial began Tuesday, and the judge predicts the case could go to the jury as early as Thursday.

Prosecutors played a video for jurors Wednesday in which the suspect told detectives she attacked the victim with a bat and strangled her. Morales-Rodriguez told police she was sorry for hurting the woman and said she didn't mean for the baby to die.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case Thursday morning. The defense has declined to say whether Morales-Rodriguez will testify.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 19, 2012 --- 4:13 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The husband of a pregnant Milwaukee woman who was killed and disemboweled last year says he told his wife he loved her on the day she disappeared.

Christian Mercado testified Wednesday in the trial of Annette Morales-Rodriguez. She's accused of killing Maritza Ramirez-Cruz last year and trying to steal her full-term fetus in hopes of passing him off as her own.

Through a translator, Mercado told the jury he kissed Ramirez-Cruz that morning and said he loved her. Then he went to work.

He says he called his wife and talked a few hours later. When he called a second time, she didn't answer. He says he got chest pains and left work to look for her but never saw her alive again.

The trial is scheduled to end Friday.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 19, 2012 --- 11:05 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant mother last year and trying to steal her fetus can be seen in a police video telling detectives she beat the victim with a bat before choking her to death.

Prosecutors played almost 40 minutes of the video Wednesday for the jury. It shows 34-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez providing a detailed description of the attack.

The video shows her sitting in an interrogation room, where she sobs and sniffles and occasionally covers her face with her hands. She tells police she planned to steal the full-term baby and pass it off as her own.

She's charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of the mother and fetus.

Her attorney contends the homicides weren't intentional because Morales-Rodriguez didn't intend for anyone to die.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 18, 2012 --- 12:05 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The defense attorney for a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting the fetus from her womb says the key legal question is intent.

Thirty-four-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of the woman and her unborn son.

During opening statements Tuesday, defense attorney Debra Patterson acknowledged that her client sliced out the baby. But Patterson questioned whether Morales-Rodriguez intended to kill either the mother or fetus.

Prosecutor Mark Williams showed a jury of seven men and seven women a number of graphic photos. They included pictures of the victim's disemboweled lower torso and bloodstained carpeting in the defendant's home.

Prosecutors allege that Morales-Rodriguez planned to raise the child as her own because she was desperate for a child.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 --- 9:30 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jury selection has resumed in the case of a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting her full-term fetus from her womb.

Prospective jurors are being asked how familiar they are with the case. Several say they've heard details through media coverage but said Tuesday they would do their best to remain impartial.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in last year's deaths of a 23-year-old woman and her unborn son. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Jury selection began Monday and continued Tuesday morning. Opening statements and witness testimony are expected to begin later Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez planned to raise the unborn child as her own. The baby died after it was sliced out of the mother's womb.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, September 17, 2012 --- 11:22 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jury selection is expected to resume Tuesday in the trial of a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting her full-term fetus from her womb.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the October 2011 deaths of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus, a boy.

Attorneys questioned about 50 people on Monday and planned to finish narrowing down the pool to 12 jurors plus two alternates Tuesday. Opening statements and witness testimony are also expected Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez had miscarriages and was desperate to give her boyfriend a son. They say she faked being pregnant, panicked as her supposed due date approached and settled on a plan to attack an expectant mother and raise the yet-unborn child as her own.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Monday, September 17, 2012 --- 1:30 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jury selection is under way in the trial of a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting her full-term fetus from her womb.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the October 2011 deaths of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus, a boy.

Attorneys plan to pick 12 jurors plus two alternates on Monday.

Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez had miscarriages and was desperate to give her boyfriend a son. They say she faked being pregnant, panicked as her supposed due date approached and settled on a plan to attack an expectant mother and raise the yet-unborn child as her own.

Ramirez-Cruz left behind a husband, two young daughters and a young son. She was 23 when she died.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press
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UPDATED Monday, September 17, 2012 --- 5:05 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Jury selection is expected to start for a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting her full-term fetus from her womb.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the October 2011 deaths of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus, a boy.

Attorneys plan to pick 12 jurors plus two alternates on Monday.

Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez had miscarriages and was desperate to give her boyfriend a son. They say she faked being pregnant, panicked as her supposed due date approached and settled on a plan to attack an expectant mother and raise the yet-unborn child as her own.

Ramirez-Cruz left behind a husband, two young daughters and a young son. She was 23 when she died.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Sunday, September 16, 2012 --- 1:34 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting her full-term fetus from her womb is set to stand trial nearly a year after the attack.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez is scheduled for trial Monday on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the October 2011 deaths of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus, a boy. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez had miscarriages and was desperate to give her boyfriend a son. They say she faked being pregnant, panicked as her supposed due date approached and settled on a plan to attack an expectant mother and raise the yet-unborn child as her own.

Ramirez-Cruz left behind a husband, two young daughters and a young son. She was 23 when she died.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 13, 2012 --- 11:25 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant woman and trying to steal her full-term fetus has dropped her insanity plea.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez had pleaded insanity to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. She's accused of killing 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz last October and slicing out the fetus to pass off the child as her own. The boy also died.

An earlier defense team planned to pursue an insanity defense. The court-ordered doctor didn't find evidence to support that plea and the judge said the opinion of someone hired by the previous defense attorneys would not stand up in court.

She changed her plea to not guilty during a hearing Thursday.

Her attorneys had no comment. The trial is set to begin Monday.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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Posted Thursday, September 13, 2012 --- 7:55 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant woman and trying to steal her full-term fetus is expected in court for a final pretrial hearing.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez has pleaded insanity to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. She's accused of killing 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz last October and slicing out the fetus to pass off the child as her own. The boy also died.

An earlier defense team planned to pursue an insanity defense. Her current lawyers haven't raised that issue but told the judge Tuesday that they were not ready to withdraw the possibility.

Prosecutor Mark Williams says he expects them to reveal that decision during the hearing Thursday. Messages left for her attorneys weren't returned Wednesday.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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