New York City

NYC Woman Who Cut Baby Out of Friend's Womb Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison

The Bronx woman convicted of murder and kidnapping for cutting a baby out of the womb of her pregnant childhood friend has been sentenced to at least 40 years in prison.

Ashleigh Wade cried and apologized during sentencing in court Wednesday, sobbing, "I'm sorry. I don't know why I did it."

Wade was convicted by jurors in October after a nearly two-week trial; the guilty verdict was reached on the first afternoon of deliberations. Evidence at the trial included graphic testimony and photos of the mutilated pregnant woman, Angelikque Sutton.

The sentencing judge, Margaret Clancy, was unmoved, saying the apology was no consolation or mitigating factor in the sentence. Clancy said that Sutton's child, now a toddler, will have to live the rest of her life knowing her birthday is also the day of her mother's murder. 

Prosecutors said Wade killed the eight-months pregnant Sutton, a friend with whom Wade had recently reconnected, in November 2015, when Sutton stopped by Wade's home on her way to her civil wedding ceremony.

Authorities said Wade slashed Sutton in the throat, took out her uterus and cut out the baby. The girl survived.

Prosecutors said Wade had been pretending to be pregnant, and when police later arrived, she told them that she had given birth and the baby was hers.

Wade's attorney, Amy Attias, had told jurors that Wade had undiagnosed mental illness. She said she had hoped jurors would have come to a resolution that involved mental health treatment.

Wade will serve 25 years to life for one murder conviction, and 25 years to life on the second murder conviction. Both sentences will be served concurrently. 

She's also been sentenced to 15 years in prison, plus five years probation, on the kidnapping conviction; this is to be served consecutively after the murder sentence. 

Prosecutors read a victim impact statement on the behalf of Sutton's family during sentencing: "She'll never get to see her daughter or marry her fiance," said Meredith Holtzman of the Bronx district attorney's office. 

Sutton's father told reporters after the sentencing he was glad the ordeal is over. Her fiance and her baby who survived the cutting were also at the sentencing, but they did not speak. 

Attorneys and the judge said Wednesday it was one of the most emotionally difficult cases they've been a part of. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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