A Milwaukee woman was convicted Thursday of murdering a pregnant woman and trying to steal her full-term fetus in an attempt to pass off the baby boy as her own. She was also convicted of killing the fetus.
Jurors found Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 34, guilty of two counts of first degree intentional homicide in the deaths, which occurred in October, 2011, The AP reports.
Morales-Rodriguez will be sentenced December 14. She faces a mandatory life sentence, but the judge could permit the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors said that Morales-Rodriguez faked a pregnancy and panicked when her made up due date was approaching, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
She then lured 23 year old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz into her house. Ramirez-Cruz was indeed pregnant and almost due, so Morales-Rodriguez could've passed off her baby as her own.
Morales-Rodriguez attacked Ramirez-Cruz and used an X-Acto knife to the fetus out.
In a videotaped police interview, Morales-Rodriguez said she choked and bludgeoned Ramirez-Cruz to unconsciousness and then removed her full-term fetus with a knife, The AP reports. She admitted to faking a pregnancy and being extremely desperate to come up with a plan.
Ramirez-Cruz died of blood loss and asphyxiation, Fox News Latino reports.
Her body was discovered in Morales-Rodriguez's basement.
After Ramirez-Cruz's death, Morales-Rodriguez said she called 911 and told the dispatcher she had just given birth to a baby who wasn't breathing, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
A medical examiner testified that the fetus died as a result of his mother's death, The AP reports.
Morales-Rodriguez said she believe Ramirez-Cruz was dead before slicing her baby boy out, but the medical examiner also testified that blood found in the mother's abdomen suggested she was still alive.
Morales-Rodriguez's attorneys have not said their client didn't kill Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus, but they did argue that she did not mean for anyone to die, so it is unfair to call this "intentional homicide," The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The defense did not call any of its own witnesses and Morales-Rodriguez did not testify at all during the trial.
Prosecutor Mark Williams told jurors that Morales-Rodriguez did intend to kill the victim, The AP reports.
He argued that the defendant had plenty of opportunities to stop choking the victim, but continued regardless. She heard Ramirez-Cruz gasping for air and pleading for her life, but still continued to choke her.
He also said Morales-Rodriguez admitted in her interview with police to taping Ramirez-Cruz's mouth and cinching a plastic bag over her head.
"Now what did she think was going to happen when she did that?" Mr. Williams asked the jury.