Milwaukee fetal-abduction/murder suspect details attack
the WTMJ News Team and the Associated Press
Cody Holyoke reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant mother last year and trying to steal her unborn baby 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, Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her unborn baby.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Cody Holyoke reports that Morales-Rodriguez refused a plea deal that would have her spend the rest of her life in prison - the sentence she could receive if convicted.
A detective also came to the stand showing evidence of a baseball bat and exacto knife, and photos of Ramirez-Cruz's body.
Her attorney contends the homicides weren't intentional because Morales-Rodriguez didn't intend for anyone to die.
On Tuesday, Morales-Rodriguez sat silently while prosecutors played the 9-1-1 call she made moments after authorities said she killed Ramirez-Cruz and cut the Milwaukee woman's unborn baby from her womb.
The call was played in court on Tuesday.
9-1-1 Dispatcher: "The baby just came out of you now?"
9-1-1 Dispatcher: "Where's the baby?"
Morales-Rodriguez: "He's on the floor."
9-1-1 Dispatcher: "The baby's on the floor?"
9-1-1 Dispatcher: "Oh, okay."
Prosecutors argued 34-year-old Morales-Rodriguez was never pregnant during any of these times.
She now faces a lifetime in prison.
Prosecutors said Morales-Rodriguez lied to friends about a false pregnancy, and was dead set on getting a baby to call her own -- and targeted Ramirez-Cruz in a plot that ended up killing her infant as well.
"You're going to hear that the baby died from a lack of oxygen, because of the death of the mother. That the baby was a viable, almost full-term baby," said prosecutor Mark Williams.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Cody Holyoke reports the defense shied away from cross-examining witnesses as they took the stand.
Less than a week after dropping an insanity plea, attorneys don't exactly dispute wrongdoing on the part of their client.
"Annette (Morales-Rodriguez) engaged in criminally reckless conduct, but she did not intend the death of Maritza (Ramirez-Cruz)," said defense attorney Debra Patterson.