It must have been one of the hardest decisions any judge has needed to make, any time. But for Colorado Chief District Judge Maria Berkenkotter is was also more about the victim than the defendant being sentenced.
It was the horrific case of Dynel Lane, who received 100 years’ prison for beating her victim, Michelle Wilkins, unconscious before then cutting her 7 month old fetus from her body.
As the Denver Post reported, the details that weighed heaviest in Berkenkotter’s decision weren’t the things that Lane did. They were the things that Michelle Wilkins never got to do.
After seven hours of deliberation, a Boulder County jury had convicted Lane of one count of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of assault and one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
District Attorney Stan Garnett’s voice was quivering when he described the first words Wilkins never got to hear.
Aurora’s parents will never get to scoop her off a grocery store floor during a tantrum or hang her artwork on the refrigerator, Berkenkotter said.
“You left me there to die multiple times,” Wilkins said. “The only tears that you cried during the trial were those of your own self-pity.”
Lane wept as prosecutors played her 911 call during the trial in February.
Wilkins’ father, mother and sister also addressed the court and asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
Michelle’s fathers aid the attack and death of baby Aurora has caused severe and permanent damage for everyone involved in the attack and murder.
“This event has shattered our lives,” Wilkins said. “Some things just cannot be fixed.”
Garnett asked the judge to give Lane 118 years in prison.
“It won’t bring Aurora back, but it will send a message about human life,” he said.