Attack on pregnant woman 'narcissistic fantasy'

By Niraj Chokshi

Michelle Wilkins hugs Longmont Police Officer Chrystie Wheeler after Dynel Lane was sentenced to 100 years in prison. Photo / AP
Michelle Wilkins hugs Longmont Police Officer Chrystie Wheeler after Dynel Lane was sentenced to 100 years in prison. Photo / AP

More than a year after she was sliced open, robbed of her unborn daughter, Aurora, and left for dead, Michelle Wilkins is getting justice.

A Colorado judge on Saturday sentenced her attacker to 100 years in prison.

In issuing the ruling, Boulder County District Court Judge Maria Berkenkotter called the sentence justified, citing the "brutal, shocking and cruel" nature of the attack carried out by 35-year-old Dynel Lane, according to Reuters.

"People are hungry to hear from you, Miss Lane. Hungry, desperate to hear you express genuine remorse from the bottom of your heart," Berkenkotter said, according to the Associated Press.

The 100-year sentence includes the maximum penalties for attempted murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

A jury in February found Lane guilty of those charges as well as assault and three more felony counts.

Wilkins also addressed Lane at the sentencing.

"It is clear that you need healing, and it is my sincere belief that you get it," she said, according to a CNN video.

"However, there were atrocities committed against me and my daughter that sent a ripple of pain out to so many others and they must be addressed."

The attack took place on March 18 of last year, after a then-pregnant, 26-year-old Wilkins arrived at Lane's home to pick up maternity clothes advertised as free on Craigslist.

The women sorted the clothes and talked about pregnancy, shopping and their partners, Wilkins said in testimony delivered in February. But Lane, who had allegedly faked a pregnancy, wouldn't stop talking.

"Several times I told her I had to go and I thought she was lonely because she just kept talking over me," Wilkins said. "I felt like I was being thoughtful, you know, and listening to her and being kind to her. But eventually I said, 'I really have to go.'"

Lane took Wilkins to the basement to look at more clothes. When she turned to leave, Lane hit her in the back. At first, Wilkins said she thought Lane was swatting at a bug and Lane played along. But then the hits kept coming.

Lane then wrestled Wilkins into a bedroom, pinning her to the ground. There, she tried to smother her victim with a pillow, before choking her with her hands.

Lane then smashed a glass bottle over Wilkins's head, she said. Soon afterwards, Wilkins lost consciousness.

Dynel Lane, convicted in February of attempting to kill a fetus, appears during sentencing at the Boulder County Justice Centre. Photo / AP
Dynel Lane, convicted in February of attempting to kill a fetus, appears during sentencing at the Boulder County Justice Centre. Photo / AP

When she awoke, Wilkins saw that she had been cut. She tried to walk but fell.

"I just felt the blood seeping through my pants, and I could feel my intestines outside of my body," she said. Wilkins then locked the door to the room, found her phone and called 911.

At some point after the attack, Lane's partner returned home to find a baby in a bathtub. He took the child and Lane to a hospital where she passed the fetus off as her own and asked staff to save it. It did not survive.

Prosecutors were ultimately unable to charge Lane with its murder because of a lack of evidence that the fetus ever lived outside of Wilkins's womb, according to AP.

Wilkins described the attack as the fulfillment of a "narcissistic fantasy" and said she was unaware until the case went to trial how many chances Lane had to "do the right thing".

"You knowingly left me to die, multiple times," she said. "The only tears you shed during the trial were those of self-pity."

Lane plans to appeal the sentencing, her lawyer told the judge.

- Washington Post

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