The Colorado woman accused of cutting a baby out of a stranger’s womb was charged Friday with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree unlawful termination of a pregnancy, among other charges, according to the Boulder County district attorney.
Although the fetus did not survive, Dynel Lane, 34, was not charged with murder.
Lane, however, was also charged with multiple counts of assault and violent-crime sentence enhancers stemming from a March 18 attack in which a 26-year-old mother-to-be was beaten and had her baby cut from her body, according to the district attorney.
Lane is accused of using a Craigslist advertisement for baby clothes to lure victim Michelle Wilkins to her home. When Wilkins arrived at Lane’s Longmont residence, Lane slashed her with a knife and removed the fetus from her body, prosecutors said.
Boulder County Dist. Atty. Stan Garnett told reporters Friday that a murder charge was considered but would not be filed, given the evidence.
“Now. I understand many people in the community, and heaven knows I have heard from a lot of them, would like me to have filed homicide charges,” Garnett said. “However, that is not possible under Colorado law without proof of a live birth."
At least one protest occurred in Longmont after Lane was arrested, calling for her to be charged with murder.
Preliminary autopsy results released Friday revealed that the unborn child did not exhibit “any signs of life outside the womb.”
“A prosecutor [in Colorado] cannot file charges when a baby who is killed has not lived outside the body of the mother,” Garnett said. “For similar reasons, I cannot bring charges of child abuse resulting in death."
Republican state lawmakers upset Lane was not charged with murder are drafting a new fetal homicide bill, Senate President Bill Cadman announced Friday, the Associated Press reported.
The legislation would extend legal protections to unborn children, according to the AP.
Cadman did not immediately return a call seeking additional comment.
In a statement issued Friday morning, Boulder County Coroner Emma Hall said the 7-month-old fetus did not suffer any trauma or injuries, and the circumstances of the brutal attack could not be “considered a live birth.”
Authorities have not yet determined the exact cause of death, Garnett said, but the coroner’s report stated the baby’s lungs never inflated, meaning a breath was never taken, he said. Additional test results are pending.
In the original criminal complaint, Lane’s husband told police he saw the baby take a breath when he came home, but, Garnet said, he later clarified that the baby’s mouth was open, but there weren’t signs of breathing.
After the attack, Lane told her husband she had miscarried and was later arrested at a hospital. She brought the fetus with her. Wilkins, who was left alone and bleeding in Lane’s house, managed to call 911.
Wilkins is recovering well and has been in regular contact with authorities concerning the case, Garnett said.
Lane remains jailed in lieu of $2-million bail.