An unborn baby cut out of a Colorado woman's womb in a brutal attack showed no signs of life after it was removed, the Boulder County Coroner said Friday.
The ruling means Dynel Lane, 34, who is accused in the March 18 attack on pregnant woman Michelle Wilkins, 26, can't be charged with murder, Boulder County District attorney Stanley L. Garnett said Friday.
"I have a sworn ethical duty not to file criminal charges against anyone that are not supported by the law and admissible evidence, regardless of my personal opinion of the law," Garnett told reporters at a news conference.
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Garnett said Lane would be charged with first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Lane faces up to 176 years in prison if convicted on all counts, the prosecutor’s office said.
Lane allegedly lured Wilkins to her Longmont home with a Craigslist ad for baby clothes. Wilkins survived, but the 34-week-old fetus did not.
Colorado criminal law defines a "person" as someone "who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act." The state has twice rejected proposals to make the killing of an unborn fetus a homicide.
Colorado is one of twelve states that does not have such a law because of fears that it would restrict abortions, according to The Associated Press.
The Wilkins family "understand the legal process, and are focused on her recovery and her healing," Garnett said. Wilkins was released from the hospital Wednesday, according to NBC affiliate KUSA.
— Elisha Fieldstadt