Wisc. woman charged with murder for cutting out another woman's fetus might plead insanity

Annette Morales-Rodriguez Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office

(CBS/WDJT/AP) MILWAUKEE - Annette Morales-Rodriguez, a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant woman and cutting out her full-term fetus in the hopes of raising the child as her own, might plead insanity, one of her lawyers said.

Morales-Rodriguez, who is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, attended her pre-trial hearing Wednesday. She is being held on $1 million bail and will be arraigned Nov. 2.

After the hearing, one of her three lawyers, Robert D'Arruda, said the defense would consider using an insanity defense.

"I'm not saying we are going to do it, but that's something we're going to discuss and may do at the next court date," he said.

Rodriguez, 33, would receive mandatory life sentences if convicted of the homicide charges, although a judge could grant her the possibility of parole. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Investigators contend that Morales-Rodriguez was desperate to give her boyfriend a son but was unable to conceive. She's accused of luring 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz into her car, taking her home and beating her with a baseball bat. She then cut her full-term fetus, a boy, from her womb.

Morales-Rodriguez dialed 911 and explained she had just given birth in her shower and the baby wasn't breathing. Officers responded to the home and found the baby boy dead. She was then transferred to the hospital to be checked out, reports CBS affiliate WDJT.

Against medical advice, Morales-Rodriguez left before being checked out.

The child was immediately taken to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy. It was then discovered that the boy was not the product of natural birth and was cut out of his mother's womb by force.

Forensic pathologist Wieslawa Tlomak testified on Wednesday that neither autopsy has been completed but stated that preliminary indications suggest that Ramirez-Cruz died of a combination of blood loss and strangulation and "it appears the child died because the mother died."

D'Arruda, her defense attorney, said he plans to question why police conducted the hospital interrogation without having read his client her rights.

"We're going to file a motion challenging her statement, saying police basically jumped the gun," he said. "They should have read her her rights before they talked to her in the hospital."

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October 11, 2011 - Wisc. woman Annette Morales-Rodriguez charged with murder for cutting out another woman's fetus