Dynel Catrece Lane (above) was arrested after she attacked a pregnant woman and cut her seven-month-old unborn baby out of her womb. In this unbelievable act of violence, the baby died but the mother, Michelle Wilkins (pictured below), survived. Today, Lane was sentenced to 100 years in prison for attacking Wilkins but was not charged with killing the baby.
Wilkins was seven-months pregnant and was visiting Dynel Catrece Lane’s home to buy baby clothes advertised on Craigslist. She was beaten and stabbed before Lane cut her unborn baby from her abdomen. Left alone in the basement of the home, the victim was eventually able to call police, was rescued and rushed to the hospital for immediate surgery.
34-year-old Dynel Lane, later allegedly brought the deceased child to the hospital and claimed she’d had a miscarriage. She was arrested and booked into the Boulder County Jail.
Boulder District Court Judge Maria Berkenkotter said the crime was brutal, shocking and cruel and ordered Dynel Lane, 35, to serve 100 years.
“People are hungry to hear from Ms. Lane,” the judge said. “Hungry to hear why you did this.”
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Lane was convicted on Feb. 23. After seven hours of deliberation, a Boulder County jury convicted Lane of one count of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of assault and one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
All six counts are felonies.
Before the judge announced Lane’s sentence, Michelle Wilkins and members of her family addressed the court.
Wilkins made her remarks sitting in the witness stand. Before she started, she set a poster-sized photo the daughter who died when Lane cut her out of the womb. Wilkins asked the judge for permission to address Lane directly. That request was granted, but the judge told Wilkins she needed to look at the judge while speaking.
“Up until this moment you have refused to acknowledge us, the victims of your violent actions,” Wilkins said. “It’s clear that you need healing and I hope that you get it.”
Mark Wilkins, Michelle’s father, said the attack and death of baby Aurora has caused severe and permanent damage.
“This event has shattered our lives,” Wilkins said. “Some things just cannot be fixed.”
Defense attorneys said Lane will appeal her conviction and said they advised her to not participate in the presentence investigation.
Unfortunately, prosecutors were not be 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. This is because in 2013, 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.
Had officials determined that the baby, named Aurora, had survived the attack and officially “been born” she would have become a victim under Colorado criminal law and prosecutors could bring charges against Lane related to her death.
As a result, the county coroner ruled that the baby’s death was a “fetal demise” — a term often associated with miscarriages when the baby dies of natural causes not an intentional act.
The pro-life group Colorado Citizens for Life was upset by the determination from the coroners office and says calling Aurora’s death “fetal demise” and indicating that there was no manner of death essentially says baby Aurora was not killed in a horrific act of violence. The pro-life group calls the ruling a slap it the fact to baby Aurora and to Michelle, as it says no one specifically killed her unborn child.
The group told told LifeNews: “It is incredibly disappointing that the Boulder county coroner’s office didn’t give a proper explanation of what happened to Wilkins’ unborn baby. Instead, they made it sound like baby Aurora died on her own, without any known cause. Clearly, Aurora was a viable, healthy 34-week-old baby that could have survived if taken to full term. However, she and her mother were assaulted in the worst way and Michelle’s baby was killed. Unbelievably, not only has the Colorado Legislature failed to acknowledge what happened to baby Aurora but now the coroners office has as well.”
As LifeNews previously reported, Colorado Republicans tried to pass an Unborn Victims of Violence law that would hold criminals accountable when they kill or injure unborn children in violent attacks against their mother. However, House Democrats killed the bill in a party-line vote of 6-5.
The sponsor of the legislation, Senate president Bill Cadman, said the following after Boulder prosecutors decided not to charge Lane for the death of baby Aurora: “This is a sad day for the mothers of Colorado, and for the fathers of Colorado. And for every Coloradan who was stunned to learn that no murder charges will be brought on behalf of a Longmont infant savagely cut from its mother’s body in one of the most horrific crimes in recent memory. Where’s the justice for that baby?”