No bail in case of slain pregnant woman from Ore.

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2009 12:07 AM

A pregnant woman was repeatedly beaten with a collapsible police baton before a "cutting instrument" was used to slice open her abdomen and remove her fetus, a detective testified Tuesday.

Another woman, Korena Roberts, is accused of aggravated murder in the June 5 death of Heather Snively, 21, who prosecutors say had moved to Oregon from Maryland with her fiance and apparently met Roberts through an ad for baby clothes.

Grisly new details of the crime emerged at a bail hearing for Roberts, 28, before a judge denied her release. She did not appear in court.

A lead investigator in the case, Washington County Sheriff's Detective Andrew Hays, testified that blood was spattered across the walls and ceiling of the bathroom at Roberts' home in suburban Portland.

During questioning by District Attorney Bob Hermann, Hays said the state medical examiner determined Snively had both blunt- and sharp-force injuries, along with extensive bruising to her arms, a broken finger and bite marks. The wound to her abdomen appeared jagged in sections and stretched across her body, from hip to hip, Hays testified.

The detective also said investigators and a psychiatrist who examined Roberts at a hospital the day of the killing found no indication of mental illness.

Hays said a doctor overheard Roberts talking to her boyfriend at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, saying "she had done a horrible thing."

Police found Snively's body stuffed in a crawlspace at the house Roberts shared with her boyfriend, who called 911 when he arrived home to find Roberts with a baby covered in blood.

The medical examiner determined the baby boy died before taking a breath outside the womb, so no separate murder charges were filed involving the infant.

During questioning by defense attorney James Glover, Hays said a hospital staff member noted that Roberts behaved oddly for a woman who claimed to have just given birth, including covering her face with a sheet to avoid staff, rolling around on the floor to complain about her treatment, and asking for food.

Glover noted that Roberts gave birth to a stillborn child in 2007 and seemed "obsessed" with babies, repeatedly watching videos of births on YouTube.

During testimony by Hays, Glover also noted that Roberts made baby food, sewed baby clothes and kept telling people she was pregnant with twins. Hays noted during questioning by Hermann the pregnancy claims went on for about a year, "depending on who you talk to."

Glover said after the hearing that Roberts' two children, ages 6 and 11, are living with her parents and were "doing well." He declined to say whether mental illness will be raised as a defense, saying "that's a subject matter for further proceedings."

Glover said Roberts was being held at the Washington County Jail in the medical observation unit.

Hermann declined to say whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty but noted that Roberts was "definitely eligible."

The next hearing in the case was not expected until February.