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Colorado woman sentenced to 100 years in prison for cutting fetus out of stranger’s womb

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A Colorado woman was sentenced on Friday to 100 years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder for stabbing a pregnant stranger she had lured with an online ad for free maternity clothes, then cutting the fetus from her victim’s womb.

A Boulder County District Court judge handed down the sentence for Dynel Lane, 35, for the grisly 2015 attack, which renewed a national debate over whether a fetus is a person and if termination of a pregnancy can ever be considered murder.

Michelle Wilkins, who was seven months pregnant, survived the attack in the town of Longmont, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Denver. But her unborn baby died.

A coroner concluded the fetus did not take a breath outside the womb, so under Colorado law Lane could not be charged with murder.

“I believe you’ve lost the privilege to live in our society,” Wilkins, who had named her unborn child Aurora, told Lane at Friday’s sentencing hearing.

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In February, jurors convicted Lane of attempted murder, four counts of felony assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

Judge Maria Berkenkotter called the 100-year sentence justified because the crime was “brutal, shocking and cruel” and said it was “miraculous” Wilkins survived.

Wilkins, 27, testified at trial that she went to Lane’s home after seeing a Craigslist ad for maternity and baby clothes. After talking for about an hour, Lane bludgeoned her, slashed her with shards of glass from a lava lamp, pummeled her with her fists and choked her into unconsciousness, Wilkins said.

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She then cut out the fetus with kitchen knives, according to trial testimony.

“You left me to die multiple times,” Wilkins said in court on Friday.

Lane’s court-appointed lawyers argued at the February trial that Lane did not plan the attack in advance. But prosecutors said her assault on Wilkins was part of a premeditated plot to steal a baby and convince her husband it was theirs, after faking her own pregnancy.

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Lane’s attorney, Kathryn Herold, told the court on Friday that years ago Lane lost one of her three children, an 18-month-old son who drowned. “It was clear this loss is something Ms. Lane never got over,” Herold said.

District Attorney Stan Garnett said he was not aware of any similar attack in the United States on a pregnant woman in which the fetus was ripped out and the woman survived.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Boulder, Colorado; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and David Gregorio)


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Trump wasn’t the first president to confront the Supreme Court – and back down

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A key presidential election is approaching. The U.S. Supreme Court hears a case with powerful political implications. The court rules, but the populist president doesn’t care. Our national commitments – to the Constitution, to morality, to the rule of law – seem at risk.Then, the president backs down. The nation survives.

This might be the story of President Trump’s short-lived threat to get a citizenship question on the census in defiance of the Supreme Court. Instead, it’s the story of President Andrew Jackson and Worcester v. Georgia, decided in 1832.

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Fatal drug overdoses drop in US for first time in decades

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Fatal drug overdoses in the US declined by 5.1 percent in 2018, according to preliminary official data released Wednesday, the first drop in two decades.

The trend was driven by a steep decline in deaths linked to prescription painkillers.

"The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America's united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, though he cautioned the epidemic would not be cured overnight.

The total number of estimated deaths dropped to 68,557 in 2018 against 72,224 the year before, according to the figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Judge blocks effort to conceal details in Trump campaign crimes case as Bill Barr’s DOJ mysteriously closes the probe

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A federal judge confirmed on Wednesday that the Justice Department has ended its investigation into campaign finance crimes committed by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, indicating that no one else will face charges in the case. But Judge William Pauley also announced that, over the government’s objections, he will be making many of the underlying documents in the case public without requested redactions.

The case stemmed from Cohen’s efforts during the 2016 campaign to secure hush money payments for two women who said they had affairs with Donald Trump. Since investigators determined these payments were done in order to help secure Trump’s victory, the spending counted as campaign contributions that were never recorded and were, in fact, illegally concealed. The Trump Organization, Cohen has said, helped repay him for the costs of the hush money while disguising the payment falsely as a legal retainer.

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