Colorado Woman Whose Baby Was Cut From the Womb Tearfully Takes Stand at Murder Trial: 'I Wanted to Survive for Her'
Prosecution claims Dynel Lane, 35, faked her own pregnancy before attacking the pregnant victim, whose baby died
At seven-and-a-half-months pregnant, Michelle Wilkins answered the Craigslist ad hoping to collect free clothes for the baby girl she planned to name Aurora.
But after arriving last March 18 at the Longmont, Colorado, home of Dynel Lane, Wilkins found herself struggling to save her unborn child's life before she was stabbed and choked, causing her to black out, the Boulder Daily Camera reports. Lane is now on trial for attempted first degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy: She allegedly cut Wilkins' baby from her womb after falsely telling others that she herself was pregnant.
On the stand Wednesday at the start of Lane's trial, an emotional Wilkins testified: "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," KDVR reports.
Although Wilkins, 27, survived the attack, she learned a day later in the hospital that her baby did not.
Lane, 35, who is being held in Boulder County Jail, has pleaded not guilty.
"What happened on March 18 was hasty, impulsive and reckless," Lane's defense attorney, public defender Jennifer Beck, said in her opening statement, the Daily Camera reports. "But it was not the result of deliberation. She did not intend to kill Michelle Wilkins. She did not plan, process or prepare on how to take her baby and pass it off as her own."
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Prosecutor Stan Garnett argued, however, that Lane allegedly falsely represented to others that she was pregnant for nearly a year, even accepting a baby shower, and that Lane's husband was threatening to leave her if she did not allow him to accompany her to a doctor. Garnett said Lane had cancelled an appointment two days earlier and had one scheduled on the day of the attack.
When Lane's husband returned home to take her to that appointment, police said, the infant was in a bathtub. Rushed to the hospital with the baby, Lane initially she had miscarried before telling police the child was not hers. She allegedly claimed Wilkins had attacked her, and that she cut out the baby to save its life after thinking she had killed Wilkins in self-defense.
"When she found out that Michelle Wilkins had survived," Garnett said, "she changed her story."
Wilkins: ‘I Just Remember Asking Her Why She Was Doing That'
Wilkins testified that after she answered the Craiglist ad, she spoke with Lane at Lane's home for more than an hour before Lane invited her downstairs and began to look for the clothing, the Associated Press reports.
After growing impatient, Wilkins said she tried to leave. That s when Lane began to attack, she said.
"As I was going upstairs towards the door, she struck me from behind," Wilkins said, reports KDVR. "It's hard to describe. She hit me, and then it was almost like pulling on my sweater and scratching at me."
"I just remember asking her why she was doing that," Wilkins said. She tried to make Lane stop by saying she loved her, to which Lane replied, "If you love me, you'll let me do this," before striking her with the glass object and then stabbing her in the neck with a broken piece, Wilkins testified.
"I remember she was straddling me and pinned down my arms with her knees," she said, according to the Daily Camera. "She pinned down my arms with her legs. She was trying so hard to choke me. She put the heel of her hand over my windpipe and everything went black."
Prosecutors say Lane removed the baby using two kitchen knives. Wilkins awoke in a pool of blood and called 911.
For the crime of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, Lane faces a maximum of 32 years in prison.