Oregon woman pleads guilty to killing pregnant woman, gets life sentence without parole

By Nigel Duara, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ore. woman pleads guilty to killing pregnant woman

HILLSBORO, Ore. — An Oregon woman obsessed with having a baby pleaded guilty Wednesday to the murder of a pregnant woman whose unborn child was cut from her abdomen after she was bludgeoned to death.

Korena Roberts, 29, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Her plea means she won’t face trial and a possible death sentence.

She was accused of beating 21-year-old Heather Snively with a collapsible police baton in June 2009 and using a straight razor to open Snively’s abdomen.

Roberts’ boyfriend found her in the tub with a lifeless infant that doctors determined had never drawn a breath. It was due two months later.

Officers found Snively’s body in the crawl space of Roberts’ home.

For months before the killing, Roberts told neighbors she was pregnant, going so far as to acquire a stroller, baby formula and parenting magazines.

A few weeks before the killing, Snively moved to Oregon from Maryland to be with her fiance. Detectives have said they believe Roberts and Snively met through an online classified service where both were looking for baby clothes.

Roberts had attempted to contact other pregnant women through Craigslist and by telephone before making the connection with Snively, District Attorney Bob Hermann said in court Wednesday.

Among those in the courtroom Wednesday were Snively’s fiance, Chris Popp, and her biological father, Kevin Snively.

“You took my daughter. My life is never going to be the same,” Snively said, looking at Roberts. “You’ve messed up our family. My mom and dad have one less grandchild.”

He added: “I hope you never forget that.”

“I don’t know what to say to you,” Popp told Roberts. “You’ve got a long sentence ahead of you.”

Roberts cried during the entire plea hearing, her bottom lip trembling. She chose not to make a statement.

During a bail hearing last November, Roberts’ attorney said she had given birth to a stillborn child in 2007 and seemed obsessed with babies, repeatedly watching videos of births on YouTube, sewing baby clothes and telling people for about a year that she was pregnant.

Roberts’ boyfriend, Yan Shubin, told police he called 911 on June 5, 2009, after coming home and finding Roberts with a baby covered in blood.

Shubin said he got to work at 6 a.m. on June 5 and went home for lunch about five hours later. At 2:30 p.m., he told detectives, he left work and received an urgent call while at a bank.

According to Shubin, Roberts said, “I need you” and sounded in pain.

When Shubin arrived home, he saw blood on the floor. In the bathroom, he found Roberts in the tub with a lifeless infant.

Shubin started CPR. Paramedics arrived and took Roberts and the child to the hospital, where doctors quickly determined the baby was dead and Roberts had not just given birth.

The medical examiner determined the baby boy had died before taking a breath outside the womb.

Roberts’ trial was due to begin in November.

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