No Jail time for man who laced girlfriend’s food to force abortion

DeForest farmer avoids prison following ‘hideous offense’
Winston State Journal By SANDY CULLEN scullen@madison.com 608-252-6137 | Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:48 pm

A rural DeForest farmer avoided a prison sentence Thursday after being convicted of attempting to kill his unborn child, so he can continue working to pay child support in a case a judge said is something mysteries – and nightmares – are made of.

But if Daniel C. Bliefernicht, 23, violates the terms of his six-year probation, he will have to serve nine months in jail for trying to terminate his then-girlfriend’s unexpected pregnancy by secretly lacing her beverages with veterinary drugs in May 2008.

Bliefernicht’s former girlfriend, Sarah Pienkowski, gave birth to a healthy baby girl in November 2008 despite her contact with the veterinary drugs Lutalyse, used to terminate pregnancy in cows and to help synchronize births in a herd, and oxytocin, used to cause uterine contraction or to help a cow drop its milk.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Sarah O’Brien accepted a plea agreement in which she withheld sentencing and placed Bliefernicht on probation. But she imposed and stayed the jail sentence as a condition of his probation after Bliefernicht pleaded no contest to five felonies, including attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child.

Bliefernicht also was convicted of first-degree reckless endangerment and three counts of tampering with household products.

Pienkowski said she wanted to leave the question of jail time up to the judge. “I don’t want to make the choice because I do not want it on my conscience,” Pienkowski said, adding that she would be satisfied with whatever the judge decided.

“There’s something particularly frightening about an attempt to surreptitiously harm a loved one living with you through their food and drink,” O’Brien said. “It’s really a hideous offense.”
But O’Brien said incarcerating Bliefernicht would prevent him from continuing to pay child support, further harming Pienkowski, who still has difficulty feeling safe and able to trust in a relationship.

Bliefernicht told Pienkowski he was sorry for what he did and hoped to some day be part of their child’s life.

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