A Colorado woman who allegedly cut a a baby out of the womb of a woman who was seven months pregnant will not face murder charges because prosecutors can’t prove the baby survived once it was removed.
If prosecutors can’t prove the baby, Aurora, “lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time,” they can’t press murder charges, Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett told reporters.
Pro-abortion Democrats in Colorado have repeatedly blocked measures to change the law in favor of unborn babies, because of concerns pro-life Republicans would use such laws to restrict abortions in the state.
The child’s mother, Michelle Wilkins, 26, went to the alleged killer’s home the afternoon of March 18 to pick up baby clothes in response to a Craigslist ad. The seller, Dynel Lane, who Wilkins knew as “D,” stabbed Wilkins, cut her abdomen open and removed the baby. Wilkins managed to call 911 and is in stable, but critical condition. The baby did not survive.
Lane’s husband told police he left work early that day to take his wife to a prenatal appointment. When he got home he headed downstairs and his wife came around the corner, covered in blood. She told him she had miscarried and that the baby was upstairs in the bathtub.
He ran upstairs and found the baby in the tub. “He rubbed the baby slightly, then rolled it over to hear and see it take a gasping breath.” He then wrapped the baby in a towel, rushed the baby and his wife to the hospital, then left to pick up his teenage step-daughters from school, who also live at Lane’s home.
Lane told hospital staff she had miscarried the baby, but then admitted to a detective she had cut the baby out of Wilkins’s abdomen. The medical staff noted the baby would have been “viable,” and a doctor told police the incision was “well-performed,” by someone who would have to have researched Cesarean section births.
Lane was eventually arrested on charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death. Prosecutors formally charged Lane Friday with eight felonies, but did not charge her with murder.
In an earlier statement, Garnett said:
The issue of whether or not murder charges are appropriate involving a case involving the death of a fetus or a late-term pregnancy is always a difficult issue. Under Colorado law, essentially, there’s no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time.
Friday, Garnett acknowledged many want the state to charge Lane with murder, but said it’s legally impossible.
“Aurora was still, but her mouth was open and she was not breathing,” Garnett said in a news conference Friday. Investigators determined Aurora’s lungs had not inflated.
“At this time neither the autopsy or the investigation have provided any evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth,” he said in an emailed statement to CNN.
Lane is facing more than 100 years in prison.
In 2002, Lane was apparently in a different marriage and lost a 19-month-old son to accidental drowning in a decorative pond at her home, a county coroner told CNN.
This report, by Rachel Stoltzfoos, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.