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U.S. Woman accused of killing fetus may face murder charges

(Xinhua)    14:40, March 20, 2015

LONGMONT, United States, March 19 -- A 2-million-dollar bond was set by a Colorado judge Thursday on a 34-year-old Colorado woman accused of stabbing a pregnant woman in the stomach and removing her baby.

Police said Dynel Lane, a mother of two, used a Craigslist advertisement to lure Michelle Wilkins, 26, to her home to buy baby clothes Wednesday and then attacked the 7-month pregnant mother before using a three-inch knife to slice her open and take her baby.

David Ridley, Lane's 35-year-old husband, said he returned home from work and found his wife "covered in blood." He told police that the baby was heard "gasping for air" before it died.

Lane told David that she "just miscarried and the baby was in the bathtub upstairs," the police report said.

Police arrested Lane Wednesday when she came to the hospital carrying Wilkins's dead baby, saying she had suffered a miscarriage. Charges were not filed against Ridley.

Wilkins underwent surgery and is expected to recover.

"Thanks to everyone for the outpouring of sympathy and support. We grieve for the many victims of this senseless attack, but mostly for a precious child whose life was ended before she had a chance to live," Wilkins' family said in a statement Thursday.

Prosecutors are weighing several charges against Lane, a former nurse aid, including killing a fetus and murder. If murder charges are not filed, Lane would face felony charges under Colorado law on "unlawful termination of a pregnancy."

"Under Colorado law, essentially there's no way murder charges can be brought if it's not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time," Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett said Thursday.

Garnett said the length of time a fetus lives outside the womb to fit a murder case is unclear, and may need further court rulings to decide, something this case might help to establish if murder charges are filed.

"If I were the prosecutor I would be very tempted to file an extreme indifference first degree murder charge," said 9News legal expert Scott Robinson.

"After all, this is intentional conduct. We've never had a case in which a child was ripped untimely from the mother's womb and then died, and this may be the case that sets the precedent," Robinson added.

It is expected that mental illness will be used as Lane's defense, a case of "not guilty by reason of insanity."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Yao Chun)

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