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Baby cut from womb: Jury resumes deliberations

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Posted at 6:23 AM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 11:32:53-05

Jurors in the case against the woman accused of attacking a pregnant Longmont woman and cutting the unborn baby from her womb will continue deliberations Tuesday morning.

The group deliberated for about six hours Monday and then reconvened at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Dynel Lane is charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first degree assault, two counts of second degree assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

Lane wasn't charged with murder in the death of the baby. Colorado lawmakers have rejected proposals to make the violent death of a fetus a homicide for fear such a law would be used to restrict abortions.

Lane is a former nurse's aide accused of luring a pregnant woman to her home with a Craigslist ad for maternity clothes.

Michelle Wilkins was seven months pregnant when she saw the ad and went to Lane's house on March 18, 2015.

The district attorney says Lane hit Wilkins over the head with a lava lamp and stabbed Wilkins in the neck with the broken glass.

Lane then cut Wilkins' abdomen, took the unborn baby and left Wilkins for dead, prosecutors say.

The baby, later named Aurora, never survived outside the womb, investigators determined.

On the first day of the trial, Wilkins testified and described the excruciating horror she experienced.

"After she broke the bottle over my head and stabbed me and she was trying to choke me... I remember thinking of Aurora and feeling like... I just thought of her and I wanted to survive... for her. So I fought back harder," Wilkins said. 

MORE | BLOG FROM COURT - Day 1 of Dynel Lane trial

Thursday's testimony focused on the doctors at Longmont United Hospital, and highlight how the suspect and the victim were treated in the same hospital at the same time, both without knowing it.

"[Lane] told me that she was at home and a pregnant woman had come to her house to purchase some baby clothes. And that while she was there, Michelle had, for some reason, attacked Dynel with a knife," Dr. Brian Nelson, OBGYN testified.

Lane also said Wilkins had started stabbing herself, Dr. Nelson said.

"Dynel was concerned about the welfare of the baby," Nelson testified. "Dynel felt she had to save the baby's life and therefore cut the baby out of [Wilkins]."

Nelson described also treated Wilkins and described her injuries.

"There was a large laceration across her abdomen," Nelson said. "Her small intestines were out of her abdomen and she was kind of holding them in her hands."

MORE | BLOG FROM COURT - Day 2 of Dynel Lane trial

On the third day of the the trial, Lane's taped interview with detectives was played for jurors.

Lane told detectives she and Wilkins were looking at baby clothes in the basement when Wilkins suddenly attacked her.

"Before I knew it, she had, I think it was a knife that I had opened my box with, and it was sitting on the counter... she came at me and I just kind of reacted. We ended up in my daughter's room and she kept trying to hit me. I asked her, 'What are you doing?' I'm like, 'Stop!' I didn't have my phone with me so I felt completely... I don't even know after that. And then, I was just defending myself," Lane told police.

"I strangled her because she wouldn't stop," Lane said, crying.

"What were you thinking about with the baby?" the detective asked.

"I thought I killed her and I didn't want the baby to die, too," Lane continued. "I had the knife that she had. And I tried to get the baby out."

MORE | BLOG FROM COURT - Day 3 of Dynel Lane trial

The prosecution and the defense gave their closing arguments Monday morning after Boulder District Judge Maria Berkenkotter read instructions to the jury.

 

The prosecution said Lane's decision to act was not hasty or impulsive, which is what Lane's defense attorneys have argued.

"She said she was having a boy and she decided to name it James," prosecutors said. "She even had a baby shower with her family in the fall of 2013."

The defense said that Lane claiming she was going to have a baby boy and then attacking a woman who was pregnant with a baby girl proves that she acted without planning.

"If you're going through all that trouble, don't you think if it's your intent to cut someones's baby out, that you're going to take some time to find a woman pregnant with a baby boy?" the defense asked. "Logic tells you, at least, to do that."

Lane's attorney said the jury should convict Lane of attempted manslaughter, not attempted murder.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett told jurors to use common sense in reaching a verdict.

"Actions speak louder than words," Garnett said. 

MORE | BLOG FROM COURT - Closing arguments in Dynel Lane trial