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Woman who tried to steal fetus sentenced

Pregnant Woman Cut
Peggy Jo Conner is escorted to her preliminary hearing in Rural Valley, Pa., on Oct. 21, 2005.Keith Srakocic / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A woman who tried to steal a fetus by knocking her pregnant neighbor unconscious with a baseball bat and cutting her abdomen was sentenced Tuesday to 22 to 50 years in prison.

Peggy Jo Conner, who could have been sentenced to up to 80 years, apologized in court for attacking Valerie Oskin.

Oskin, 31, was rescued after a passerby spotted the two women in a rural area and called police. Her baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean section and put up for adoption, which had been Oskin's intention before the attack.

"I'm sorry for what happened to Valerie and for what part I had in it," Conner said. "I'm not that kind of person. I was on drugs then."

But Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi said blood tests after the Oct. 13, 2005, attack showed no intoxicants in Conner's system. She is now being treated for bipolar disorder and manic depression.

Oskin tearfully read a statement in court in which she said she now suffers from nightmares and anxiety because of the attack. She said her 8-year-old son, who witnessed part of the attack, is afraid to be alone.

"Her crime will affect us forever," Oskin said.

Conner, 40, of Manor Township, pleaded guilty in February to attempted homicide and other charges. She struck Oskin with a baseball bat and then drove her to a remote location, where Conner used a razor knife to cut open Oskin's abdomen in an effort to remove her unborn baby.

A boy on an all-terrain vehicle spotted the women in a clearing and told his father, who called police.