Juror Controversy at Fetal Abduction Murder Trial

Potential Jurors Were Watching T.V. at the Courthouse

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by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE-Defense attorneys asked to dismiss the potential jury panel and bring in a new panel in the case of a Milwaukee woman charged with murdering another woman and that woman's unborn baby.

Apparently several jurors had been watching t.v. news in the courthouse.

'I think this jury panel has been tainted," defense attorney Reyna Morales declared, "if they weren't before then they definitely are now."

But prosecutor Mark Williams countered, "It sounds like a lot of them didn't see it. Sounds like those who saw it said it was just very brief and didn't have anything prejudicial in it."

"Jury management knew this case was coming," Judge David Borowski explained, " because my clerk advised them of that because we ordered a larger than normal panel. I say it would have been incumbent upon them to maybe have ESPN on this morning and not a local news station."

But the judge ruled that the jurors would be instructed to make a decision based on what was presented as evidence during trial. He denied two defense motions to strike the panel and replace it with a new one.

Jury selection is scheduled to resume Tuesday. Opening statements could then begin, possibly as soon Tuesday.

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.

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.

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