HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) -- An Oregon woman accused of murdering a pregnant woman from Maryland and cutting the unborn child from her womb pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of aggravated murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
The battered body of 21-year-old Heather Snively was found in the crawl space of Roberts' home in June 2009. Roberts was found in the home, holding Snively’s unborn baby.
Prosecutors say Roberts bludgeoned Snively in the bathroom with a collapsible police baton, then used a sharp instrument to cut the unborn baby from Snively's abdomen. The baby was due a month later.
The defendant trembled and cried throughout her plea hearing Wednesday. "I am pleading guilty because I am guilty," said Roberts.
Under terms of the plea, Roberts cannot be paroled.
"I felt this is the best punishment for her for this situation, because she won't ever get out," said Kevin Snively, the victim’s father.
"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."
"It's a tough one to swallow but you know, you come out to a place for a new beginning, and to have something so tragic happen with such good intentions," said Chris Popp, Snively’s fiancé.
A few weeks before the killing, Snively moved to Oregon from Maryland to be with her fiance. Detectives said they believe Roberts and Snively met through an online classified service where both were looking for baby clothes.
For months before the killing, Roberts told neighbors was she was pregnant, going so far as to acquire a stroller, baby formula and parenting magazines.
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.
KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report