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Conviction upheld in fetal homicide



Published: Sat, April 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- A state appeals court upheld the third-degree murder conviction of a woman who kicked her pregnant romantic rival in the stomach, killing the unborn fetus.

Corinne Wilcott's trial attorney didn't file the proper paperwork for the appeal and so waived her right to it, the court ruled. But even if the attorney had filed the paperwork, the court found, there was no reason to throw out Wilcott's 2003 conviction.

Wilcott's appeal attorney, Alison Scarpitti, argued that Erie County Judge John Trucilla wrongly barred some evidence at trial and challenged the constitutionality of the state's Crimes Against Unborn Children Act. The law allows criminal homicide charges to be filed when a fetus dies as a result of an attack on its mother.

The June 8, 2002, killing made national headlines when Wilcott first appealed the decision to Trucilla, saying the new fetal homicide statute conflicted with the state's abortion law.

But the appeals court agreed with Trucilla's previous ruling that the state can protect an unborn fetus as long as it doesn't interfere with a woman's right to privacy.

"We're very disappointed by the ruling," Scarpitti said Friday, anticipating that she will again appeal the case.

Assistant District Attorney Jack Daneri said he had been confident the court would rule in the prosecution's favor, particularly on the constitutionality issue.

Wilcott is serving seven to 20 years in prison, after which she'll face eight years' probation, for attacking and kicking Sheena Carson after a party on June 8, 2002.

Wilcott was angry because Carson was carrying a child fathered by Wilcott's husband, and purposely kicked Carson in the stomach during the attack, prosecutors said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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