A US woman faces 100 years in prison after being convicted of attacking a pregnant woman and cutting her baby from her womb.
*Warning – distressing content
UPDATE 30 April
Dynel Lane, 36, has been sentenced to 100 years in prison.
Judge Maria Berkenkotter said the harshest sentences for the most serious charges were justified by the brutality of the 2015 attack.
The Daily Mail reports, Jurors heard that Lane went to elaborate lengths to feign her own pregnancy before attacking Michelle Wilkins.
They did not hear that in 2002, Lane’s 19-month-old son drowned in what investigators ruled was an accident.
Relatives who spoke on Lane’s behalf before the sentencing Friday said her remorse over losing her son may have led her to take an action they could not understand or explain.
Her lawyers argued there was no evidence it was a calculated murder attempt.
They urged jurors to convict Lane of the lesser charge of attempted manslaughter.
Judge Berkenkotter sentenced Lane to 48 years for attempted murder and 32 years for unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
The remainder of her sentence was for assault charges in the attack.
Prosecutors said they were unable to charge Lane with murdering Wilkins’ unborn girl because a coroner found no evidence the fetus lived outside the womb.
Michelle Wilkins said after the sentencing that she saw the hearing as a day in court for her daughter, who she named Aurora.
‘Judge Berkenkotter was clearly listening to everything that we were saying,’ Wilkins told reporters, adding she felt justice had been served.
A Colorado jury has convicted the woman of attempted murder and assault after stabbing a pregnant stranger and cutting her foetus from her womb. She lured the victim to her home with an online advertisement for free maternity clothes.
Dynel Catrece Lane, 35, was also found guilty in a Boulder courtroom on Tuesday of a charge of unlawfully terminating a pregnancy stemming from the March 2015 attack on Michelle Wilkins, 27.
Michelle Wilkins, who was seven months pregnant, survived the attack but her unborn baby girl died.
Prosecutors filed a charge of unlawful termination of a pregnancy against Lane after the Boulder County Coroner ruled the unborn child was a foetus rather than a baby because it had not taken a breath outside the womb.
Lane showed little emotion in court on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Lane faked a pregnancy and then, after her husband became suspicious about whether she in fact was carrying a child, she took out an advertisement on the website Craigslist to lure a pregnant woman with an offer of maternity clothes.
Wilkins testified that when she went to Lane’s home, responding to the advertisement, the older woman bludgeoned, stabbed and choked her until she passed out.
When her husband returned home, Lane told him that she suffered a miscarriage and he rushed her to a hospital along with the deceased foetus, police said. Wilkins, who was slipping in and out of consciousness, called 911 from the basement of the home where police later found her, clinging to life.
Michelle Wilkins also was present for the verdict and dabbed at her eyes with a tissue as it was read. She told herself she had to survive for the sake of her unborn baby.
“I do hope she finds the time to reflect on what she did,” she told reporters outside court.
Michelle revealed in a new interview that she got to spend time with her daughter’s lifeless body after the death.
‘I did all the things that a mum would want to do,’ said Michelle Wilkins.
That included holding the baby, dressing her and even taking time to read her some books.
She then added; ‘But knowing that she was only present in spirit and not physically was a really painful thing to grasp.’
Wilkins did not learn until the morning after she was attacked by Lane that she had lost her daughter, whom she had already decided to name Aurora.
‘This trial has allowed me to be more in touch with some of my grittier emotions, like anger,’ Wilkins told The Denver Post.
‘Knowing today, going into that courtroom and seeing her, I finally felt like I’d reached a comfortable place in myself where I felt like my anger was valid.
‘It’s hard to make a plan for where things go from here.’
She then said of her tragedy; ‘I think it’s probably a fear of any parent who’s lost a child that they will forget and that they won’t think of them daily.
‘But as the days and weeks and months have gone by, it’s effortless for her to come into my thoughts. And I know she will be with me forever.
‘Dan and I were both taken by surprise when she decided to come into our lives. She changed both of our perspectives about what we thought we wanted – who we thought we were – and continues to do so.
‘But she definitely opened up an aspect of myself that I didn’t know was there, which is the aspect of motherhood.’
Lane could face a maximum sentence of 140 years in prison.
Such a terrifying story!
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