updated 7/11/2008 3:17:21 AM ET 2008-07-11T07:17:21

A woman pleaded innocent Thursday to stabbing a pregnant woman to death and cutting the baby out of her womb.

The charge of aggravated first-degree murder against Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong, 23, carries either the death penalty or life in prison without parole, if she is convicted. Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Araceli Camacho Gomez, 27, was found dead in a city park on June 27, stabbed multiple times. Her baby had been cut from her body.

Police have said Sisouvanh Synhavong tried to pass off the baby as her own in calls to emergency dispatchers. Authorities have said there was no evidence the women knew each other.

The baby boy is in serious condition at a hospital in Spokane. Camacho Gomez's husband, Juan Campos-Gomez, who was in court Thursday, said he plans to take his wife's body back to Mexico to be buried when it is released.

Sisouvanh Synhavong was granted credentials as a nursing assistant by the state Department of Health in 2005. She applied for renewal of her credentials in March.

The next hearing in the case is set for Aug. 6.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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