LONGMONT, Colo. — Pro-lifers are expressing disappointment after a Colorado district attorney announced that he would not pursue murder charges on behalf of a baby who died when she was cut from her mother’s womb because he could not prove that the baby was alive when she was separated from her mother.
Dynel Lane, 34, will instead only be charged with attempted first-degree murder for leaving Michelle Wilkins, 26, for dead after the act, and for a lesser charge of “unlawful termination.”
According to reports, Lane attacked Wilkins with a knife and a piece of glass after she responded to a Craigslist advertisement for baby clothes. She then cut Wilkin’s seven-month-old baby out of her womb, and left the woman to die. While Wilkins survived the incident, her baby, a girl who she named Aurora, did not. Lane took the child to Longmont United Hospital and claimed that she had suffered a miscarriage.
District Attorney Stan Garnett said that he will not file murder charges surrounding the death of baby Aurora as he says that the infant would have needed to show signs of life after being separated from her mother in order for Lane to be charged with murder.
“Colorado law is absolutely unambiguous,” he told reporters. “Now I understand that many people in the community—and heaven knows I’ve heard from a lot of them—would like me to have filed homicide charges. However, that is not possible under Colorado law.”
“Colorado criminal law … defines homicide as the killing of a person by another,” Garnett said. “It defines a person, when referring to the victim of a homicide, as a human being born and alive at the time of the homicidal act.”
He stated that because autopsy results do not show that the incident was a “live birth,” Lane can’t be charged with the baby’s death.
Although Lane still faces up to 100 years behind bars for her crimes, pro-lifers in the state and beyond have expressed dismay that while Wilkins is considered a person in the eyes of the law—hence the attempted murder charge—her pre-born daughter is not.
Local resident Renee Jacoby organized a protest over the charges out of her “total disgust with the justice system.”
“[The baby] was two months off,” Jacoby told the Times Call. “How can it not be considered a person when it’s a person enough for an autopsy, a person enough for a death certificate and a person enough for a name?”
“Michelle Wilkins won’t receive justice for the death of her child,” Colorado Right to Life member Susan Sutherland also lamented to the publication. “It’s time to get this taken care of. It won’t prevent tragedies from happening, but it will allow people to seek justice.”
Efforts have twice been launched in Colorado in seeking the law to be changed so that homicide charges can be filed against those who commit crimes that result in the deaths of the preborn, but both of those efforts have failed.
“Many of us worked tirelessly to get Amendment 67 on the ballot [last year], and in the end we were simply drowned out by Planned Parenthood’s big money and big politics,” wrote Gualberto Garcia Jones of the Personhood Alliance in an op-ed this week. “If the law now treats the seven-month unborn child of Michelle Wilkins as nothing more than a miscarried pregnancy, you can thank those who buy into the abortion mentality that an unborn child is somehow sub-human.”