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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weird news: Mother cut open to take unborn baby

Sometimes you come across crimes so bizarre and horrible that one does not know how to react. One cannot easily determine whether the crime was conducted when the person was of sane mind, or whether the person was insane at that time, and laws normally do not easily allow people who are insane to be prosecuted for crimes that they committed (it is a different matter that it can be fairly difficult to determine whether the person was insane when they committed this crime).
Consider the following case where investigators found a dead woman and a dying baby inside the home of a woman who had earlier claimed to be pregnant, but who was not pregnant (link to article):

An Oregan who was killed last week was cut open by her killer so that the baby could be removed from her womb, an autopsy revealed. Authorities also said Heather Snively’s accused killer, Korena Elaine Roberts, who was arraigned on Monday, told her boyfriend and her family members she was pregnant, even though she wasn’t, The Portland Oregonian reported on Tuesday.
Roberts did not speak during her court appearance, the newspaper reported. Her court-appointed attorney did not enter a plea on her behalf. She is charged with the death of Snively, not her baby because the unborn child must have taken a breath to meet the legal standard of being alive, Washington county prosecutor Bob Hermann said. “The issue is - was the child alive at all, at any point in time?” he said. “That’s the legal issue we’ve got to try and resolve.”

In such a case, jury members have a tough task of determining whether the crime was conducted by a person in full control of their mind (and one can expect that the defense attorney will try to present a defence based on temporary insanity).

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