US woman sentenced to 100 years for cutting baby from stranger's womb

Catrece Dynel Lane is shown in a booking photo taken on March 19, 2015.
Catrece Dynel Lane is shown in a booking photo taken on March 19, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A judge in Colorado has sentenced a woman to 100 years in prison for cutting an eight-month-old baby from a stranger's womb with kitchen knives, local media reported.

The sentence included the maximum penalties for attempted murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy, which Judge Maria Berkenkotter said on Friday reflected the brutality of last year's attack.

A jury in February found Dynel Lane guilty of attempting to kill Michelle Wilkins by beating, stabbing and choking her after luring her to her home by posting an advertisement for maternity clothes on Craigslist, the online classified listings service.

Prosecutors could not charge Lane with murdering the baby because a coroner found no evidence it had survived outside the womb.

Lane, 36, had faked a pregnancy for months, deceiving her husband David Ridley, whom she had told would be the baby's father.

"You embrace your narcissistic fantasy to live the lie you created, and it was more important than my life and my daughter's life," the Times-Call quoted Wilkins as saying on the witness stand.

The court in Boulder heard that Lane had posted photos of herself online in which she had appeared pregnant and that she had sent Ridley ultrasound images she had downloaded from the Internet.

However, he had grown suspicious about her claims and pressured her to see a doctor, media reported.

Lane lured Wilkins, 26 at the time, to her house in the city of Longmont, north of Denver, in March 2015.

Prosecutors said that when Wilkins went into the basement to look at baby clothes, Lane hit her and tried to choke and smother her before cutting the baby from her womb, the Times-Call reported.

She left Wilkins on the floor unconscious while she took the baby to a hospital with Ridley - who lived with Lane and her two daughters - saying she had suffered a miscarriage, media reported.

Wilkins later regained consciousness and managed to call police. Reported to have been barely alive when she arrived at the hospital, she survived after an operation.

Lane has expressed no remorse for the attack. Asked in court if she wanted to speak, she said "no".

However, her lawyer said she had been seriously affected by the death of her son in 2002, when he drowned in what was ruled to be an accident, the Times-Call reported.

Prosecutors' inability to charge Lane with murdering Wilkins' baby prompted Colorado Republicans to introduce legislation that would have allowed a murder charge.

However, Democrats rejected the bill, the third time the proposal failed in Colorado.

But 38 other states have made killing a fetus a homicide.