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Trial begins for woman accused of murdering mother, unborn child

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MILWAUKEE -- Jury selection began on Monday, September 17th for a Milwaukee woman accused of killing a young mother by cutting her fetus from her womb.

34-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree intentional homicideĀ in the October 2011 deaths of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus, a boy.

Monday morning, jury selection in the case began.

A criminal complaint in the case says in October of 2011, Morales-Rodriguez, who had suffered more than one miscarriage was faking another pregnancy to please her boyfriend. According to the complaint, as Morales-Rodriguez approached her fictitious due date, she panicked and then executed a plan to lure a pregnant Maritza Ramirez-Cruz to her house where she allegedly hit the mother of three with a baseball bat, strangled her and used an exacto-knife to cut the woman's fetus from her womb.

Ramirez-Cruz left behind a husband, two young daughters and a young son. She was 23 when she died.

During jury selection Monday, several jurors said they saw details of the case in various media reports, including a news story broadcast on the jury room television Monday morning.

Some potential jurors expressed reservations because of what they've seen, while others said they believe they could remain fair if selected.

"With all due respect to the media, sometimes their reporting is accurate and sometimes it is inaccurate. Anything you've seen on TV or in the newspaper has anything to do directly with this case because none of it is evidence," one court official said.

No jurors were eliminated Monday, and all potential jurors must report Tuesday. Attorneys are looking to select 12 jurors and two alternates.

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