Colorado woman who cut foetus from pregnant stranger stabbed victim with lava lamp

Dynel Catrece Lane, 34, who admitted to cutting a foetus from a pregnant stranger, stabbed her victim first with shards of glass from a broken lava lamp before performing a crude caesarean section. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Dynel Catrece Lane, 34, who admitted to cutting a foetus from a pregnant stranger, stabbed her victim first with shards of glass from a broken lava lamp before performing a crude caesarean section. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DENVER (REUTERS) - A Colorado woman who police said admitted cutting the foetus from a pregnant stranger stabbed her victim first with shards of glass from a broken lava lamp before performing a crude caesarean section, court documents showed on Friday.

Dynel Catrece Lane, 34, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, felony assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy stemming from the attack in March on Michelle Wilkins in the town of Longmont, north of Denver.

The 26-year-old Wilkins, who was seven months pregnant, survived the assault but her unborn baby girl died.

In a brief filed ahead of a preliminary hearing set for next week, prosecutors said Lane lured the victim to her home on the pretext of selling her maternity and baby clothing through an online ad.

After the two women talked for about an hour, Lane asked Wilkins to go into the basement of the home where she attacked the younger woman, smashing a lava lamp over her head, prosecutors said.

"Then she used the lamp to stab Ms Wilkins in the neck, and proceeded to choke her with her hands, and smother her with a pillow," the document said.

After she rendered Wilkins unconscious, Lane used a knife to slice open the victim's abdomen and remove the foetus, prosecutors said.

Lane then placed the foetus in a bathtub and left Wilkins bleeding on a bed in the basement for "a lengthy period of time," according to the brief.

In a previously released arrest warrant affidavit, Longmont police said Wilkins placed a 911 call, and that despite drifting in and out of consciousness, she was able to direct rescuers to her location.

Police said Lane had duped her husband David Ridley into believing that she was pregnant.

When her husband arrived home on the day of the attack, Lane told him she had suffered a miscarriage, and Ridley took his wife and the foetus to the hospital, the affidavit said.

Lane's story unravelled after staff there became suspicious when she refused an examination, and she ultimately admitted to a detective that she had attacked Wilkins, police said.

Lane, who is being held on a US$2 million (S$2.65 million) bond, also faces two counts of criminal violence, so-called "sentence enhancing" charges which mean that if she is convicted on all counts and given the maximum sentence, she could get life in prison.