A coroner in Colorado has ruled the death of a 34-week-old fetus cut from its mother’s womb not to be a homicide, but instead has ruled the death a “fetal demise” legally similar to a miscarriage. That means the fetus’s killer won’t face a murder charge.
The unborn girl, who was going to be named Aurora, was killed in March when her mother, 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins, was the victim of a heinous and bizarre attack. Wilkins was responding to a Craigslist ad offering to sell baby clothes, but instead walked into what authorities say was a premeditated assault.
According to police, Dynel Lane lured Wilkins into her basement, then stabbed her and attempted to steal her baby by excising it from her utertus. The attack came after Lane had apparently faked a pregnancy of her own last year, and she allegedly hoped to steal Wilkins’ baby to silence the criticism of friends.
Wilkins survived the attack and was able to call the police. Lane was arrested after she arrived at the hospital with the dead baby, claiming she had suffered a miscarriage.
Because it was only a “fetal demise,” no cause of death was given, meaning the entire situation is treated as legally similar to a miscarriage. The classification was made because Colorado has no fetal homicide law, and there is no evidence Aurora was alive after leaving the womb (although 34 weeks is very viable for a fetus) and so the coroner could not declare that a live birth had occurred. This determination was made in spite of an affidavit from Lane’s husband, who told authorities he heard the baby make a “gasping breath” after he found it lying in a bathtub.
The classification means that authorities cannot bring any charges directly related to Aurora’s death, so Lane won’t face homicide charges. Instead, Lane is charged with the attempted murder of Wilkins and unauthorized termination of a pregnancy.
LifeSiteNews reports that after the attack that the Colorado Senate tried to pass a fetal homicide law. The bill was rejected by the Democrat-controlled House, however, on a party-line 6-5 committee vote.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.