BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado woman convicted of attempted murder after cutting a nearly 8-month-old fetus from a stranger’s womb is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett has said Dynel Lane, 36, could spend the rest of her life in prison after a jury convicted her in February of attempting to kill Michelle Wilkins in 2015. Lane was also convicted of four felony assault charges and one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, also a felony. Lane had lured Wilkins with a Craigslist ad for maternity clothes.
Prosecutors were not able to charge Lane with murder in the death of Wilkins’s unborn girl, saying a coroner found no evidence the fetus lived outside the womb. That led Colorado Republicans to introduce legislation that would have allowed a murder charge. But Democrats rejected the measure, the third time such a proposal failed in Colorado. Over the objection of abortion-rights supporters, 38 states have made the killing of a fetus a homicide.
During a trial that drew international attention, prosecutors said Lane was obsessed with having a baby. Her attorneys argued the assault was not a calculated murder attempt, but an impulsive act.
Lane had posted online photos of herself with a distended belly and sent the man she said was the father of her child ultrasound images downloaded from the Internet. David Ridley, who lived with Lane and her two daughters, testified during the trial that Lane claimed for more than a year that she was expecting a boy, whom they planned to name James. In 2002, Lane’s 19-month-old son drowned in what investigators ruled was an accident.
Ridley had grown suspicious by the time Lane lured Wilkins to her Longmont home. Wilkins testified that they chatted for about an hour before Lane hit, pushed and tried to choke her, then used two kitchen knives to cut the baby from her womb.
When Ridley came home early from work that day to meet Lane for a doctor’s appointment, he said he found the fetus in a bathtub and drove the child and Lane to a hospital, where she begged staff to save the baby, claiming it was hers.
Lane said nothing to Ridley about Wilkins, who was unconscious at her home. Wilkins regained consciousness and called police.
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