Horrific details about a Colorado woman who was attacked and whose 7-month unborn baby was cut out of her womb are coming out in court this week.
Testimony in the trial of Dynel Catrece Lane began Wednesday in Boulder, Colorado, according to the Denver Post. Lane is charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of pregnancy for allegedly attacking Michelle Wilkins and cutting her unborn baby out of her womb in March 2015. Lane is pleading not guilty. Police said mental illness may be a factor in the case.
Unfortunately, prosecutors are not able to bring charges for the unborn child’s death because Colorado state law does not regard unborn children as human beings who deserve justice when they are killed. In May 2015, Colorado Democrats killed a bill that would add the state to the list of more than 25 states that provide justice and protection for pregnant women and unborn children. They rejected a similar measure in 2013.
A report shows Wilkins’ baby breathed a heavy last gasp before she died. However, after the incident, a spokeswoman from the Boulder Country District Attorney’s Office said Lane wouldn’t face murder charges for the baby’s death. Instead, prosecutors charged the perpetrator with unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
On Wednesday, jurors listened to Wilkins and prosecutors explain what happened on the day of the attack. According to the news report:
Wilkins’ soft voice trembled as she described how a chance meeting spiraled into the bizarre attack. It began March 17 when Wilkins responded to a Craigslist ad for free maternity clothes.
In a text to Lane, Wilkins asked if the clothes were still available: “Would love to have. Belly is bigger than ever!!”
The two women met at Lane’s home shortly before noon the next day and together went through maternity clothes, Wilkins said. They talked about pregnancy, shopping at thrift stores and their partners.
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Lane appeared lonely. Every time Wilkins said she needed to leave, Lane spoke over her. When Wilkins opened the door to leave, Lane closed it.
“She was pulling at my sweater, kind of scratched at me,” Wilkins said. Wilkins said she asked if a spider had been on her shoulder.
“I think I got it,” Lane responded.
But she said Lane hit her again. Then again.
When Wilkins confronted her, Lane became angry and threatened to call the police. Wilkins offered to call the police herself, which she said appeared to prompt Lane to start punching her with her fists.
Eventually, Lane pushed Wilkins backward onto a bed, Wilkins said. The two wrestled, with Lane trying to choke Wilkins. Lane smashed a glass bottle over Wilkins’ head.
“I kept saying, ‘Why are you doing this?’ ” Wilkins said. She then told Lane, “I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I love you.”
She said Lane responded, “If you love me, you’ll let me do this,” before stabbing Wilkins in the neck with a shard of broken glass.
Every time she pushed Lane off of her, Wilkins thought of her daughter.
“I wanted to survive for her, so I fought back harder,” Wilkins said, choking back tears.
But Lane was able to pin both of Wilkins’ arms beneath her knees and with all of her weight, Lane pressed the heel of her hand into Wilkins’ throat.
Wilkins said she blacked out and later woke up to overwhelming pain in her stomach. She said she could feel her intestines outside of her body. At the time, she was not aware that her baby girl had been cut out of her womb.
Though she could barely walk, Wilkins said she “willed” herself to walk to the door and call 911.
Emergency responder Billy Sawyer said when he arrived at the scene, he found Wilkins covered in blood from head to toe.
Meanwhile, Lane and her partner were at the emergency room with Wilkins’ baby girl. Prosecutors said Lane had been faking a pregnancy to her family, and when her partner arrived home, she told him that she had a miscarriage. The couple took Wilkins’ baby girl to the hospital, where Lane claimed the baby was hers, according to the testimony.
At the hospital, Lane told doctors, “Save my baby! Save him! Save him!”, according to the testimony.
Dr. Leslie Armstrong testified that she tried to restart the baby’s heart but could not. Armstrong said she also told Lane that the baby was a girl, not a boy.
After Lane refused treatment, doctors discovered that she was not pregnant, according to the report. Bizarrely, Lane later told the doctor that she removed Wilkins’ baby from her womb in an attempt to save the baby. Police later arrested Lane at the hospital.
Armstrong also treated Wilkins when she arrived in the emergency room not long after talking with Lane.
“She was barely alive,” Armstrong remembered saying as she treated Wilkins’ stab wounds.
Wilkins told the jury she fought to stay alive because of her baby daughter, who she named Aurora.
Prosecutors said there will be 19 or 20 witnesses and they expect to rest their case by Monday, according to Fox 31 Denver.