Jurors in stolen baby trial won't hear about cause of death

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Jurors in the trial of a woman charged with cutting an unborn baby out of another woman's womb will not hear testimony about the cause and manner of the baby's death, the judge ruled Thursday.

Attorneys for defendant Dynel Lane argued the information would be unduly prejudicial to her, the Longmont Times-Call reported (http://tinyurl.com/zvoc6j7). Jurors were not in the courtroom when Judge Maria Berkenkotter heard the arguments and made her ruling.

Lane is charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the March 2015 attack on Michelle Wilkins in Longmont.

Defense attorney Jennifer Beck argued Lane wasn't charged with any crime against the unborn girl, so the fetus was not legally a victim and details of the death weren't relevant to the case.

District Attorney Stan Garnett said earlier that prosecutors couldn't charge Lane in the baby's death because a coroner found no evidence the fetus lived outside the womb.

That angered conservatives in the Colorado Legislature, who had previously tried but failed to enact a law making it a crime to kill a fetus. Colorado's law against unlawful termination of a pregnancy was a compromise that stemmed from earlier debates on the issue.

Lane is accused of drawing Wilkins to her Longmont house by advertising free maternity clothes, then cutting the baby from her abdomen and claiming the child was her own.

The baby, a girl, was declared dead after Lane and her boyfriend took her to the hospital.

Wilkins lost consciousness after the attack, but she came to and called 911. She was rushed to the same hospital, where she underwent surgery lasting several hours, Dr. Kevin Berg testified Thursday.

Berg said Wilkins might have lost more than half her blood.

Garnett said Lane was obsessed with pregnancy and pretended she was expecting. Defense attorneys say Lane attacked Wilkins on impulse and didn't intend to kill her.


Information from: Daily Times-Call, http://timescall.com/


Information from: Daily Times-Call, http://timescall.com/